Playwright Mark St. Germain (see also Freud's Last Session) has written Dr. Ruth's life story as a conversation between Dr. Ruth and the audience. There's no fourth wall, as she candidly speaks directly to the audience, saying "I love to go out to the theater, today, the theater comes to me!" The play is set in 1997 as Dr. Ruth is packing up the apartment she's lived in for over 30 years, triggering a flood of memories that she shares with the audience. Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1928, she recounts her days as part of the Kindertransport to Switzerland, moving to Palestine and fighting in the Israeli War of Independence, her three marriages and two children, and her endless pursuit of education, eventually becoming sex therapist to the nation through her radio and TV shows. It's a life both ordinary and extraordinary, filled with unspeakable tragedies as well as everyday struggles of love, family, and career.
|Miriam Schwartz as Dr. Ruth (photo by Sarah Whiting)|
Of course, a one-person show is never just that, and Miriam has great support in director Craig Johnson, who keeps her busy moving around the apartment set, packing up memories; scenic designer Kirby Moore who has created a cluttered, homey, lived in set; and dialect coach Foster Johns to help her get the accent down pat.
This summer show opens Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company's 2015-2016 season and runs for just seven performances. Catch it while you can* to see a funny, poignant, sharply written play about America's most trusted sex therapist who turns out to be much more than what she seems, with a wonderful performance by Miriam Schwartz as the star of this one-woman show.
*Note that Ford Parkway is closed between the theater and Snelling, so plan accordingly and allow time to navigate detours.