Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Devised SeXcurity probes for sense-of-self and identity at CPT

Roy Berko

Member: Cleveland Critics Circle and American Theatre Critics Association

Native Clevelander Darren Katz and Israeli born, Yuval Boim, have many things in common.  The duo are gay, Jewish, have an intense interest in probing into the psyche of self-identity, security of identification, and victimhood.  As revealed in a face-to-face interview, they both seem to thrive on probing psychological barriers and delving into the layers of personal development as an artist.

That delving is at the very core of their SeXcurity.  The devised theater-piece is the kind of work that Raymond Bobgan, the Artistic Director of Cleveland Public Theatre, champions.

SeXcurity is billed as a darkly funny performance about the deep need to define ourselves and the challenges of finding a safe corner of the world – and our minds – in which to do so. It concerns an Israeli-American Jewish gay screenwriter whom, when confronted with a crisis, has to discover who he really is.

The character sees himself as a victim.  He has a boyfriend who is German.  His life and sexual actions connect with trauma, and have life and death ties.  He struggles to let go of his perceived victimhood and history, which, in reality, have nothing to do with his contemporary self.

Though Katz and Boim contend that the play is not autobiographical, per se, but thematically has bits of each of them. As they stated, “it is based in autobiography and then extrapolated."

Katz was brought up in Shaker Heights and graduated from University School in 1992.  He was a student of the late Michael LiBassi in the Heights Youth Theatre, worked with Victoria Bussert at Cain Park, and was influenced by Carol Pribble, his drama teacher at US.  He went on to earn a BA in Urban Studies and Architecture from Columbia University.  He now lives in New York with his husband and their child.

Like architecture, his philosophy of theatre directing centers on “working with the playwright to find the best form to tell their story in a three-dimensional way.”  He believes that “form follows function and that theater is a physical art.”  He contends that “theater should not be derivative, but should stress the invention of story.”

His NY credits include being the Resident Director of The Lion King, which entails rehearsing the understudies and crafting the performances of new cast members who are entering into the production.  He has directed such shows as the 2nd national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. (For more professional information on Darren go to: http://www.darrenkatzdirector.com/)

He returns to Cleveland regularly as his family still resides here.  He nostalgically related that when he was young he used to take the rapid downtown to his father’s law office.  He remembers well the beauty of the marbled walls which used to be in the lower levels of the Terminal Tower.

Yuval Boim is a “Sabra.” He was born in Holon, a city on the coastal strip just south of Tel Aviv to a first generation Sabra father and a Romanian mother.  His family moved to Johannesburg, South Africa when he was young, back to Israel when he was three, and moved to Houston, Texas when he was thirteen.

He is a graduate of the conservatory at the Boston University College of Fine Arts.  Following college he moved to New York to pursue a career in theater.  He also spent two years in London studying Lecoq at the London International School of Performing Arts, which “emphasizes methods of physical theater, movement and mime.”  The performance language of the school emphasizes the physical playing of the actor, which is Yuval's first approach to playwriting.

Boim’s conception and performance in SeXcurity harks back to his Lecoq training.

Boim has appeared in numerous television shows and movies including “That Awkward Moment” with Zac Efron and Miles Teller. (For more information on Boim, go to: http://yuvalboim.com/)

Natalie Gershtein, an independent New York based producer, is the producer of SeXcurity.  In her role as producer, her aim is to “support artists and connect the show to the right audience.”  She has become passionate about the work of Katz and Boim and hopes that through this workshop, they can pair the show with the right future audiences and venues. 

As they go forward Katz, Boim and Gershtein hope that they can cultivate mindfulness around the subject of identity, bringing this theme from the unconscious to the conscious.

SeXcurity (a workshop production),which is part of the OUT OF THE BOX series, will be performed March 24-26 at 7 PM.  For tickets call 216-631-2727 or go to www.cptonline.org