A happy life – in theory

Ra’anana’s Center Stage presents ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’

A SCENE FROM ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn.’ (photo credit: Courtesy)
A SCENE FROM ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn.’
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In an age where sexual politics – specifically, the radical re-definition of gender identity – is a prominent part of the public discourse, a staged debate about men’s and women’s “proper” roles may seem almost quaint. But that’s the beauty of Rapture, Blister, Burn, a highly-acclaimed American comedy by Gina Gionfriddo now showing at Center Stage in Ra’anana, Israel’s first and only performance space devoted to high-quality, professional English-language productions.
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rapture, Blister, Burn centers around the life choices of two girlfriends from grad school – Catherine, a successful but lonely academic who studies feminist theory, and Gwen, who never established a career, and instead, chose to build a home with her children and husband. That the husband in question is Catherine’s former boyfriend challenges both women to rethink their choices, with surprising and sometimes hilarious results.
Hailed as “intensely smart and immensely funny” by The New York Times, Center Stage’s new production – under the direction of Ruby Welkovich – is the first time that Rapture, Blister, Burn has been performed in Israel. Similar to the company’s most recent venture, a production of Bad Jews directed by Drew Feldman, the cast of Rapture, Blister, Burn brings together talented, professional actors from both Israel and abroad: Noa Lapidot, Ayala Shiftan, Ran Levy, Sandy Cash and Sarah Markowitz.
“Our mission at Center Stage is to provide the community at large with theatrical productions of artistic excellence,” says Daniella Crankshaw, executive director of Center Stage. “We challenge our audience with innovative productions that entertain as well as confront today’s issues and ideas. Even through Gina Gionfriddo’s play wrestles with age-old themes, it is abundantly clear that they are still relevant today, particularly when there is a misplaced belief that women have reached equality.”
Director Ruby Welkovich believes that she really hit the jackpot for her directorial debut in Israel with this play.
“The show explores the themes of love, betrayal, female friendships and feminism. What’s really interesting is that the author illustrates the struggle of evolving attitudes over three generations and really questions whether feminism has indeed evolved. As such, it was vital to me to ensure that the characters felt like full, well rounded, identifiable women as opposed to characters on stage.”
Center Stage Theater was founded by Daniella and Grant Crankshaw, South Africa thespians who met while studying drama at their university in Johannesburg, married, and brought their theatrical talents to Israel. They established Center Stage as a professional performance venue that offers a variety of productions and youth theater, as well as a full schedule of events, lectures, and workshops in English for the wider community.
Rapture, Blister, Burn has seven performances between January 30 and March 7 at Center Stage, 6 Hamasger Street in Ra’anana. Tickets and more information are available online at www.centerstageisrael.com.