Presented by the Program in Theater as part of the New Works Festival II.
Shalom Bayit by Aleeza Schoenberg
Approximately 90 minutes; no intermission
Please silence all electronic devices including cellular phones and watches, and refrain from text messaging for the duration of the performance. No flash photography permitted.
Yonina/Ima/Emma: Laura Robertson ’24
Whiskers/Aba/Binyamin: Arthur Yan ’22
Becca: Naomi Frim-Abrams ’23
Daniella: Pia Bhatia ’25
Zev: Avi Chesler ’25
Director: R. N. Sandberg
Stage Manager: Sydney Hwang ’24*
Assistant Stage Manager: Bethany Villaruz ’24*
*denotes a certificate student in the Program in Theater
Nathan Davis, Playwriting
A Note from the Thesis Proposer
I remember at the beginning of college, a good friend of mine bemoaned the lack of Modern Orthodox Jewish representation in the media; everyone was either only modern or only Orthodox. It was true. I also remember all the times I’ve seen people look at a piece of writing or a play or a movie and say, “Wow, that’s me.” I want more people to be able to say that. More importantly, though, I want people to feel seen. Observant Jewish communities are made up of a range of personalities and experiences, and I want the people within these communities to see each other and feel seen by the outside world. In this play, I’ve taken everyone I know and love and understand well and can’t understand at all and distilled them into “angsty” young people. In doing so, I hope to bring empathy and love to the watching experience. At the same time, I’ve taken some of the most tension-filled themes, themes that Modern Orthodox Jews think about all the time yet that are also quite universal, and begged the audience to grapple with those tensions and witness their course. I ask that you watch Shalom Bayit with curiosity and empathy, and continuously think about acceptance and love. Think about celebration, think about fear, think about change, think about familiarity. Think about peace.
Just as this play is a representation of a wide range of people I’ve known and observed throughout my life, a great number of people are the reason I could present the world before you today. My family, of course, has supported my art and has shown me the side of love of family, of Judaism, and of modernity. My friends have confided in me their greatest appreciations of and struggles with Judaism, shared their experiences in great depth. They have also engaged in important dialogue that constantly makes me rethink Modern Orthodoxy and observant Judaism over all. My family and friends have taught me the nuances of loving and hating, of appreciating and critiquing, within a world of tension and conflict, a world of tradition and modernity, a world of close-mindedness and open-mindedness.
And finally, I am grateful to the people that have allowed me to get to this point in my theater journey. Bob has guided me through this revision and production process and has put in hours to bring my play to life. That he believed in my play and in me is the reason you can see this play before you today. Nathan was not only my first playwriting professor, but the one who encouraged me to continue the story I was writing, to allow Shalom Bayit to flourish into what it was becoming. He has been there throughout this revision process, offering deep insights into the nature of my play. I am so thankful to Sydney, Beth, Arthur, Avi, Laura, Naomi, and Pia for putting in intense hours to create a wonderful production. My thanks also go out to the people who have supported my theater over the years: the CJL Play, the CJL staff, the Lewis Center, the New Works Festival team, all my amazing theater instructors, and many more.
— Aleeza Schoenberg ’22
Special thanks to Julien Alam, Hannah Bein, Josh Schoenberg, Ari Braun, Julie Levey, Molly Lopkin, Batya Stein, Tess James, Reed Leventis, Ginger, Charlie, and the staff members at Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life.
An estimated 10 million Native Americans lived in North America before the arrival of European colonizers. Many thousands lived in Lenapehoking, the vast homeland of the Lenni-Lenape, who were the first inhabitants of what is now called eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.
Princeton stands on part of the ancient homeland and traditional territory of the Lenape people. In 1756, the College of New Jersey erected Nassau Hall with no recorded consultation with the Lenni-Lenape peoples.
Treaties and forced relocation dispersed Lenape-Delaware to Ohio, Kansas, and Oklahoma. We acknowledge the violence of settler colonialism and pay respect to Lenape peoples past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora.
Current Princeton student activists and alumni are advocating for Indigenous students and studies at the University. For more information, see the websites of Natives at Princeton and Princeton Indigenous Advocacy Coalition.
Lewis Center for the Arts
Interim Chair: Michael Cadden
Executive Director: Marion Friedman Young
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