BY SOPHIE BIRD
Titled for the burgundy Doc Marten boots worn by its antagonist, the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington’s most recent production, Cherry Docs, tells the story of recently arrested neo-Nazi Mike Downey and his court-appointed Jewish lawyer, Danny Dunkelman.
Producing Artistic Director Audrey Heller says the play, by Canadian playwright David Gow, addresses racism, prejudice, and the difficulty of abolishing hate.
The show depicts a series of meetings during which Dunkelman helps Downey prepare for trial after he’s arrested for the unprovoked attack and murder of a South Asian immigrant in Toronto. As Downey grapples with what he’s done, Dunkelman deals with his own feelings of disgust and hatred.
Heller says the audience will see a shift in both characters’ ideologies. “I won’t say that there’s a lot of violence, but there’s a lot of abrasive talk,” she says. “They sort of have to come to a meeting of minds.”
There is redemption at the end, she confirms, but not before both characters are forced to confront their own prejudice.
Cherry Docs is a conversation between two individuals with drastically different ideologies. Heller says she hopes similar dialogue can transcend the curtain call and make its way into the community.
“Hate groups have been a part of our history. We know that,” she says. “If we reach the right people [with Cherry Docs] I think it might help address that.”
The show stars Christopher Crider-Plonka and Jonathan Golembiecki, who play Downey and Dunkelman, respectively. “I think the actors themselves will need to evaluate their own feelings and their own prejudices,” Heller says.
Liam Castellan, who directed the Jewish Theatre 2017 production of Church & State, is returning to oversee Cherry Docs with the support of an Indiana University Theater student production team.
Performances will take place on May 9, 11, 16, and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and May 19 at 3 p.m. in the Rose Firebay at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. Tickets are available at the BCT Box Office, bctboxoffice.org. Visit jewishtheatrebloomington.com for more information.