Romance Haunted by Ghosts0
By Bruce Apar
It’s not often a movie or play attempts to tackle the familiar themes of romance and self-identity against the backdrop of an historic atrocity that took place generations in the past. Yet, that precisely is what playwright Howard Meyer has accomplished in his play Maybe Never Fell. The powerful new drama last weekend opened its limited engagement world premiere in Pleasantville and continues there the next two weekends, through November 20.
The full-length play looks unflinchingly and incisively at how generational burdens and atrocities – whether from our nation’s wartime history or from today’s war-torn world – can obstruct the possibility for lasting love. At its center are two romantically involved millennials: an American man and a German woman. The play takes an unflinching yet poignant look at how these 21st Century descendants of the Holocaust come to grips with interlocked legacies they cannot escape.
Mr. Meyer is an award-winning playwright and theater impresario who was honored by ArtsWestchester on its 50th anniversary in 2015 as one of 50 significant artists in Westchester. He is the founding artistic director of Axial Theatre, a professional theater company that is the producer of his new work. Under Axial, he also heads an eponymous acting school where this writer is a student.
During the trajectory of his career, Howard Meyer has struck up friendships with the likes of Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey and Pulitzer-winning playwright Craig Lucas, who calls Maybe Never Fell “a real beauty.” Mr. Lucas goes on to say, “I have never seen a play about the American Jewish experience with Germany right down to today. I was glued to the action and completely surprised by each new arrival of another major linchpin in the structure. The play is ambitious and boldly conceived.” The play is directed by Jenn Haltman of New York Theater Workshop in Manhattan.
In Maybe Never Fell, Mr. Meyer’s protagonist is Max Webber, a middle-age American Jew whose earnest and often agonizing search for love, and for his spiritual and cultural identity, are sabotaged by landmines from the past.
Max is played by David Lanson, who appeared in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. The cast includes Sara Hogrefe as Max’s love interest, Mathilde Schiller. Mr. Hogrefe is a Brooklyn-based film, stage and TV actress, and comedy writer, whose credits include Law & Order: SVU. Spencer Aste, who was in the film Taking Woodstock, plays her father Manfred Schiller. Mr. Aste also was the voice of Scratch in Toy Story, and appeared in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Dominic Russo, who plays Mathilde’s friend Gunther Holt, has been seen on stage recently in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
For ticket and other information, visit AxialTheatre.org or call (914) 286-7680.
Bruce Apar is Chief Content Officer of Google Partner Agency, Pinpoint Marketing & Design, as well as an actor and a regular contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at email@example.com or (914) 275-6887.