By Suzy Williams
Venice local Lisa Robins gives a riveting and emotional performance in this one-woman show about an Ivy League Jewish girl who tries out kibbutz life. She’s blessed with a child and finds motherhood to be a state of bliss until her 13-year-old son dies while out exploring a cave.
Robins acting projects abject sorrow while sitting Shiva (a seven-day mourning process) and is instructive about how to talk to those who grieve: Don’t say “He’s in a better place”; say “I’m crying with you.” Audiences also learn about how Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, can be a balm for hurting souls and how death can deepen one’s appreciation of life.
Another truly remarkable aspect of the play is that Robins’ character makes no move to take revenge or spread hatred against Pakistani people, even though Pakistani terrorists are responsible for her son’s death. In fact, one of the most charming characters that Robins so brilliantly brings to life is a laborer who spouts pearls of wisdom in an adorable Pakistani accent.
Giulio Cesare Perrone deserves special kudos for his very desert-like set design, as does projections supervisor Tom Jones for seamlessly blending pertinent slides into the show.
“The Blessing of a Broken Heart” continues at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays through March 20 at The Braid Performance and Art Space, 2912 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets are $35. Call (800) 838-3006 or visit jewishwomenstheatre.org.