Posted August 23, 2023 in Articles
Author: MEGHAN WALSH
A comedic hour was enjoyed by residents of R.H. Myers at Menorah Park in Beachwood as they took in a reading of “The Kosher Hams,” which was written and performed by their very own neighbors.
“The Kosher Hams” was written by resident Barbara Kusner, a lifelong playwright with theater experience at Beachwood and Cleveland City Schools, and the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood. Barbara Kusner’s husband, Lou Kusner, starred in the production, alongside residents Luanna Gamble, Hannah Szabo, Sharon Eichenbaum, Aaron Canowitz and Marty Silverman; as well as R.H. Myers life enrichment director, Marie Smith, who played the role of the narrator.
Barbara Kusner, writer of “The Kosher Hams” and her husband, Lou.
“Knowing (Barbara Kusner) and having read through multiple kinds of plays that I am aware of that (she has) written, the common theme that runs through all of them is that people come together to work out some challenging relationship issues and then come back out the other side stronger and more bonded, loving,” Smith told the Cleveland Jewish News of Barbara Kusner’s works. “They’re very hopeful and they’re very touching.”
“The Kosher Hams” is about Jewish family life and the challenges families face. When an old flame is rekindled decades later, the couple’s children from other relationships face challenges with coming to terms that their parents are back together. The last time their parents were in a relationship, the children themselves hadn’t even been a thought, so the children embark on a journey of familiarizing themselves with and accepting their parents’ long lost loves.
Barbara Kusner said she wrote “The Kosher Hams” many years ago, and the script was one of many she showed to Smith when she joined the R.H. Myers community about two and a half years ago.
Life enrichment director Marie Smith, from left, and residents Marty Silverman, Aaron Canowitz, Sharon Eichenbaum, Hannah Szabo, Lou Kusner and Luanna Gamble perform a reading of “The Kosher Hams” at R.H. Myers.
Loosely translated, “kosher hams” means “Jewish actors,” Kusner told the CJN, and the six R.H. Myers residents who took part in the performance were just that.
“I would describe (‘The Kosher Hams’) as a delightful, energetic, bright group of people who really enjoy being ‘hams,’” she said. “They enjoy acting, they enjoy being ‘kosher hams’ and I think that’s really it.”
She said she is pleasantly surprised again and again by the strong turnout of fellow residents who gather to be part of her plays or to watch their neighbors perform.
“The room fills up and these people all come in and they all want a part,” she said. “And the ones that don’t have a part sit there and listen. We never have not had a crowd come in and listen, and I hope that it’s holding everybody’s attention.”
Hannah Szabo reads the part of Henrietta Goldberg in R.H. Myers’ production of “The Kosher Hams”
Kusner explained the family dynamic within “The Kosher Hams” was inspired by her own family and the “chatter” they engage in when it comes to matters relating to loyalty and relationships.
She pointed out the play can be observed by different people in different ways, depending on how the storyline applies to their individual lives.
“That is what is so interesting because you never know how people are taking it in,” Kusner said.
Original Article: https://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/features/special_sections/senior_living/menorah-park-residents-participate-in-comedic-play-reading/article_41207734-41e9-11ee-9d7c-d7c1d10c48f7.html