Tony-nominated actor Tovah Feldshuh is bringing her Broadway hit Golda’s Balcony to the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
Tovah Feldshuh stars in the one-woman show Golda’s Balcony at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
The one-woman show, at the centre on April 4, for one night only, is about the life of former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.
“The play shines a light on a woman who never expected to become prime minister and the greatest agony of her entire political career, which was the 1973 war and the surprise attack by [Egyptian president] Anwar Sadat across the Suez Canal on Yom Kippur,” Feldshuh says.
“And, it shows how a mother and a wife, who also happens to be prime minister, deals with the possible annihilation of her country.”
Feldshuh, a multi-award winning actor of stage, film and television who was nominated for her first Emmy for playing the freedom fighter Helena in the 1978 NBC mini-series Holocaust, takes us on Meir’s journey from childhood to death’s door at 78.
For Golda’s Balcony, written by William Gibson, she portrays 36 different characters. The original concept of the play didn’t involve playing all these characters. It was reconstructed to suit what the actor so enjoys, and thinks edgy and daring – portraying multiple characters – as she demonstrated in 2000, in her one-woman show, Tovah: Out of Her Mind!
“The reason her [Meir’s] journey is so arresting is because she goes from under the staircases of Kiev, hiding from a pogrom, to the halls of the Knesset,” Feldshuh says.
“She goes from a poverty-stricken life in Milwaukee and Denver, to helping to found the Jewish state, to tilling the soil, something she knew nothing about, and never getting sick… others were dropping like flies. Her husband, Morris, got malaria, but not she.
“The play will bring to life her relationship with Israel as her primogeniture. Israel was her most important child, and Golda was pulled between her personal and her state life, and she chose the state for the greater good. She was a true utopian socialist,” Feldshuh continues.
“She loved her children dearly, but if it was between being with them when they were sick or trying to save the state, there was no choice, she went to the latter.”
Feldshuh, who is married to New York attorney Andrew Harris Levy and has two grown children, Garson Brandon and Amanda Claire, relates to Meir as a mother.
“I think Meir sacrificed a great deal for the birth of the Jewish state, and the substance of the Jewish state. You think it is hard to create a Jewish state? Try to sustain it… now you’re talking!
“Sometimes we have to make big choices if we are prime ministers, surgeons or generals. Happily for me, I’m but an artist and I’m not faced with a career in the military or the medical. Lives don’t depend on it.”
Feldshuh first played the role of Meir in 2002, and other than a 2003 charity performance in Montreal for a Jewish fraternity house that had been destroyed, the Richmond Hill performance is the only Canadian stop on her tour to date.
“I just think it will be a rare artistic opportunity for the audiences in the Toronto area to witness, on a very personal level, the agony and dilemma of military conflict,” Feldshuh says.
“The choice to engage in it and the sacrifice it means, and the dilemma of Israel being chosen as an enemy of her neighbour states, unnecessarily, of course… I think for pride alone. I think this play is moving art. If I was invited to see Golda’s Balcony with the original Broadway actor, I would go and I would take my children and my parents.”
For tickets, call 905-787-8811 or visit www.rhcentre.ca.