Prayer for The French Republic
05/04/2023 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM
CL Critic Kevin C. Madigan Recommends: Actor’s Express is now staging Prayer for the French Republic, a play about navigating anti-Semitism and Jewish identity. Set on the eve of the 2016 French presidential elections, a Parisian doctor considers relocating to Israel with her family amid fears for their safety. A side story depicts her great-grandparents anxiously awaiting the return of relatives who have just been liberated from concentration camps. “This is Joshua Harmon’s most ambitious play to date,” says Artistic Director Freddie Ashley. “The rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere fueled Harmon’s exploration of the need for the safety of home. Exquisite in every detail, Prayer for the French Republic is an uplifting play that confronts the inhumanity of the world with the powerful forces of family and hope.” Harmon, a two-time MacDowell fellow and Juilliard graduate, was invited by Ashley to be the Actor’s Express Artist in Residence, a position he has held since 2010, and this is their fourth collaboration. The cast features AE veteran Carolyn Cook (Angels in America, Blackberry Winter), Ross Benjamin of Théâtre du Rêve (Intimate Apparel), Jared Simon (Glengarry Glen Ross) and former AE Apprentice Aliya Rose Kraar (Oh, to be Pure Again). According to a press release, Atlanta stage favorites making their AE debuts include Susan Shalhoub Larkin, Barry Stoltze and Clayton Landey. Also making their AE debuts are Shaun Maclean, Faina Khibkin, Israeli-American actor Adire Lev Mann and Jacob Sherman. Joe Alterman (Neranenah Jewish Music Festival) has composed original music for the production. — KCM
From the venue:On the eve of the 2016 French presidential elections, a Parisian doctor fears for her family amid the rise of antisemitism in France. As she considers relocating to Israel, we flashback to her great-grandparents in 1945 anxiously awaiting the return of loved ones recently liberated from the concentration camps. This uplifting family saga introduces us to five generations yearning for the safety of home. Winner of the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Best Play and the 2022 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play.