Theater review: ‘Milk Milk Lemonade’

By Joshua Conkel; translated by Dori Parne; directed by Ofer Amra; Haifa Theater, August 24.

‘Milk Milk Lemonade’ (photo credit: EYAL LANDSMAN)
‘Milk Milk Lemonade’
(photo credit: EYAL LANDSMAN)
Ofer Amram’s intentionally understated production of Joshua Conkel’s wise, very funny, ultimately sad Milk Milk Lemonade – the title comes from a said-to-be smutty kids’ rhyme – allows the play to eloquently speak for itself.
Ostensibly about the childhood of a gay boy, the play speaks in parables to the essence of gender identity, the old conflict of nature or nurture and the necessary dilemmas of choice.
Grandma (Eyal Rozales), Emory (Gil Reshef), Linda (Ron Rychter) and Elliot (Vladsilav Peysahovich) anchor the action, marvelously abetted by Keren Or, Ma’ayan Weisberg and Erez Sharabany who are everything else, from puppeteers to a talking tarantula to Elliot’s evil spirit to a singing doll.
Let’s heap praise on Shani Tur’s near impressionist set, Ma’ayan Resnik’s puppets, Adam Kalderon’s costumes, Parnes’ translation – oh for heaven’s sake – on everything! Orphaned Emory is being brought up on Grandma’s chicken farm. Grandma, terminally ill with cancer, is adamant that Emory grow up to be a Man. Emory dreams of TV stardom, and would much rather be a girl. His best friends are Linda, a talking chicken with standup aspirations, and his doll, Starlene. He’s both drawn to and repulsed by nextdoor Elliot, himself confused and frightened by his own homosexual feelings, who alternately bullies and plays with him.
But the farm exists to turn live chickens – pillows with combs and beaks – into schnitzel via The Machine, including Linda. Little by little Emory’s world is ripped apart.
Craggy Rozales, quietly courageous Reshef, chicken Rychter and desperate Peysahovich, individually and together, are (and there’s no other word), awesome.
Bottom line? To be gay in a world that rejects you requires more than ordinary courage.