The Firehall opens its season with “My Rabbi”, October 7-18

Buy tickets: http://firehallartscentre.ca/onstage/rabbi/

Once again, I encourage people to go visit the Firehall Arts Centre. If you want to make a nice evening of it, enjoy nearby Cuchillo Restaurant (which has Latin American influences but cannot be easily categorized, has fantastic vegan options if need be, great mixology, and blue cornbread which I find amazingly compellling) beforehand. Or, one of numerous other restaurants that have cropped up in the Gastown/Japantown/Strathcona/Chinatown areas. The Firehall almost always has an art exhibition going, it’s right next to the Vancouver Police Museum (also well worth a visit), and I just love that it’s my neighbourhood theatre. It was great to attend Fringe shows there.

A reminder too — many Firehall shows have a pay-what-you-can option on Wednesday afternoons (sometimes other performances too). Season ticket options are very reasonable. Just find your way here.

“My Rabbi” started life as a Fringe production and played successfully at Edinburgh Fringe. It features Kayvon Kelly, whom I have really enjoyed watching in several recent productions, including one version of Chelsea Hotel. I don’t know Joel Bernbaum (from Saskatoon), but I look forward to seeing him.

Here’s the description:

My Rabbi looks at the lines between faith and friendship through the eyes of two Canadian boys – Arya who is Muslim and Jacob who is Jewish. Inspired by the creators’ real-life friendship (Kelly is half Iranian, half Irish and Bernbaum is Jewish), this unflinching and heartfelt comedic drama gives a uniquely personal and Canadian perspective on the complex issues around the

“The play is about the connection between two boyhood friends, but at its heart it is about Canadian identity and how that relates to the battle between old world politics and religious boundaries,” says co-creator Kayvon.

As a young man Arya travels to the Middle East in search of his cultural identity, while Jacob goes on to become a rabbi in Canada. As their spiritual journeys lead them in divergent directions, the differences they laughedover and celebrated as young boys become a source of friction. Their lives are changed forever when the age-old battle manifests in their respective communities.

I admit to a bit of cynicism when I read about a work that features intercultural peace and understanding. But given the background of these actors, I feel confident that this is not going to be treacly and fluffy and one-dimensional.

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