Shekinah

by Charles Case

directed by Peter S. Case

Photo by Jonathan Slaff 

"Shekinah," a new dark comedy by Charles Case, revolves around the tragic, humorous and desperate lives of early twentieth century spiritualists. People who lost loved-ones to WWI or a child to polio made especially easy prey for these practitioners of mystic bunkum, who would abuse the desperate and those whose desperation made them blind. The play is directed by Peter Case Spiritualism has always been a desperate leap of faith and a refuge for the grieving. For those with the skill and cunning to spin silk out of suffering, it was an irresistible opportunity. Much of "Shekinah" involves a trio of such charlatans: a woman named Billie Dove, whose talent as a medium is legendary, and two male cohorts in crime, Henry, a cantankerous old vaudevillian, and Wesley, his young protégé-turned-murderer. The setting is 1919 Chicago. Billie and Henry have been on the con for a long time when they meet the ultimate mark: a wealthy doctor clinging to his belief in ghosts as his last hope to be a father to his dead son. The craft and mendacity of the threesome are matched against the intelligence and rational humanity of the doctor, who invites Billie Dove to live in his home and channel his ten-year-old son. Abandoning her accomplices, Billie ends up playing governess and caretaker to a thought, a wisp of air and lingering love. The production will use many of the simple yet effective tricks of the period to reproduce the séance magic performed by sham mediums in the 1920's in the "spook racket." The title of the play is a Hebrew word meaning a symbol or manifestation of God on earth. The title specifically relates to Billie Dove and her ability to convince all those around her, even the skeptical, that she is a vessel for the divine. It also recalls the title of one of the first spiritualist newspapers, which was published in the 1850s.

Performances: 

 3/12/2009 at 7:30pm
 3/13/2009 at 7:30pm
 3/14/2009 at 7:30pm
 3/15/2009 at 2:30pm
 3/15/2009 at 7:30pm
 3/19/2009 at 7:30pm
 3/20/2009 at 7:30pm
 3/21/2009 at 7:30pm
 3/22/2009 at 2:30pm
 3/22/2009 at 7:30pm

Theatre/Venue La MaMa Experimental Theatre 

74A East 4th St  New York

Phone Number for Reservations 212-475-7710 
Website for reservations www.lamama.org  
Running time 2hr. 0min. 

 

Producing Organization: LaMaMa Experimental Theater Club  
Website www.lamama.org  
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