Bēma initiates our Leil Sliḥot service with a reading of The Gates are Closing

The Gates are Closing Jewish 1000Saturday, September 21, 2019 7 pm — This year Congregation Emanu-El will introduce our Sliḥot prayers for the High Holy Days in an unusual way, a reading of the award-winning contemporary play, The Gates Are Closing. Beginning Saturday, September 21 at 7 pm preceding the traditional Sliḥot service, 10 members of the Jewish community will take the parts of a varied yet inspired minyan of Jews in the synagogue on Yom Kippur as they grapple with issues of identity, meaning, repentance and forgiveness.

This award-winning play had its first staged reading at the Jewish Repertory Theatre in New York in May 1986. Since then it has been presented in hundreds of synagogues and college campuses from Brooklyn to Beijing, including a signed performance by Temple Beth Solomon of the Deaf in Arleta, California.

Over the years many rabbis and congregations have treasured the play including Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, who described it as “a drama of great religious insight and nuance, instigating probably the most thoughtfully lively High Holy Day preparation our congregation ever had.”

The playwright, Merle Feld, is a widely published poet whose work frequently appears in anthologies and prayer books including the new Conservative High Holy Day Maḥzor Lev Shalem, the Siddur Lev Shalem, and the Reform Movement Women’s Torah Commentary. She is also the author of a popular memoir in poetry and prose, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (SUNY Press, revised 2007) and a recent book of her poems, Finding Words (URJ Press, 2011).

Feld is moved and delighted that The Gates are Closing, written early in her career, has retained its urgency and spiritual power for such a vast audience nationally and internationally. “It feels miraculous to me that every fall these characters come to life again—in Philadelphia and San Diego, Youngstown and Nashville, Virginia, Arizona, San Antonio, Australia, and London—and that these characters continue to provide a gateway for Jews across the denominations who are searching for meaning.”

A Little Crazy: Bēma at the Fringe

A Little Crazy - NL BemaBēma Productions is thrilled to present their fifth Victoria Fringe Festival production, the comedy “A Little Crazy” written by Joseph Reed Hayes, directed by Zelda Dean and performed by Toshik Bukowiecki & Michael Rodgers.  All performances take place at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria.

Thursday August 22, 7 pm
Sunday August 25, 2 pm
Monday August 26, 7 pm
Tuesday August 27, 7 pm
Wednesday August 28, 7 pm
Thursday August 29, 7 pm
Sunday September 1, 2 pm

TICKETS: $11 are available online from at victoriafringe.com or ticketrocket.co or in person at Ticket Rocket Lounge: 10 am–5 pm, Monday to Friday at 1050 Meares Street and at Fringe HQ beginning August 20: noon–7 pm daily at 2–1609 Blanshard (at Fisgard, across from Romeo’s), or at the door.

First Annual Readers Theatre Festival

Readers Theatre image

Weekend January 26/27, 2019Bēma Production’s next venture is an exciting weekend of Reader’s Theatre in January 2019. The festival will run in the now familiar Bēma “black box” which we create in Congregation Emanu-El‘s social hall. This style of theatre allows the audience to imagine the action from hearing the script read aloud without sets, costumes or props. The readers of the three festival plays have been carefully chosen through auditions from inside and outside the Congregation Emanu-El community. It will be a weekend filled with laughter, sadness and challenges. Please come and enjoy one play, or even all three. Tickets are now available at https://www.ticketrocket.co/event/season/346 Continue reading First Annual Readers Theatre Festival

4th Annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival

VIJFF Image.png

Saturday, November 3 to Tuesday, November 6 at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street — The 4th Annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival (VIJFF) will take place from Saturday, November 3 to Tuesday, November 6 2018 at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street. VIJFF hopes to have the pleasure of welcoming you to the Festival to experience the best of Jewish-themed cinema.

Please visit the website vijff.ca for further information!

Pass Prices: Includes All Movies and Opening Night Reception

  • $100 Adult ($116 value)
  • $ 85 Student/Senior ($95 value)

On Sale Now!
$150 Festival Movie Lovers Package ($95-$116 value) includes a $65 charitable donation receipt for seniors & a $50 charitable donation receipt for adults.
Please note that the Movie Lovers Package should be purchased at our website, vijff.ca through PayPal or by cheque to the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria, 3636 Shelbourne Street Victoria, BC V8P 4H2 and not through Ticket Rocket.

Ticket Prices
$10 Student/Senior
$13 Adult
$25 Opening Night which includes a Reception at the Union Club

Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo-001Adrian Chamberlain, Times-Colonist writer wrote:
“This week, I attended the Fringe Eve Preview in Market Square, in which performers have two minutes each to offer a sample of their shows. These were some of the best:
...Kalamazoo by Bēma Productions: Victoria actors Ira Shorr and Angela Henry offered a nicely performed snippet of Kalamazoo, a play about a pair of aging baby boomers who meet via an online dating service. This seems a solid bet.”

To see pictures…

Last chance to see Bedtime Stories

10685716_web1_bedtime-stories-1200x799March 14–18 — Bedtime Stories is the latest production for the Saanich theatre company, St. Luke’s Players. The six-act comedy is the work of Canadian playwright Norm Foster, who is often compared to Neil Simon and has had more than 50 plays reach the professional stage. Our emeritus eNewsletter editor, Jonathan Stoppi who performs in this play encourages everyone to go —”a very funny play, on a par with the best of British comedy—even if I say so myself, as a member of the cast.” The final four performances are this weekend. Tickets at the door, or at Eventbrite.com.

Audience reactions include…

  • “Many thanks […]  for an excellent performance last night. The dialogue was impeccable, the timing perfect and it was one of the most amusing plays we have attended.”
  • “We absolutely loved your show last night! It was darn near perfect with such excellent comic timing that we laughed out loud more than we have in a long time.
    Your direction has pulled really good characterizations out of all 15 of your cast.
    Congratulations and thanks for a really fun evening of theatre.”
  • “So entertaining. We had fun on the way home talking about which were our favourite scenes. Casting for the 15 roles was spot on. I loved the set and costumes.”

Drama meets history: a $60,000 offer for the shul

Deed Cast and Crew
Cast and crew of The Original Deed (Photo: Penny Tennenhouse)

“I am two of your characters.” An animated Ben Levinson approached me after the final performance of The Original Deed last Sunday. “I was the one who crawled up into the attic and I was one of those who searched for land for a new shul.” Continue reading Drama meets history: a $60,000 offer for the shul