Monday, November 1, 2010

Modern love

Eleanor (played by Catherine LeFrere) is
one thought: “Can I Really
Date a Guy Who Wears a Yarmulke?” —
which, conveniently enough, is the name of
the play in which she considers doing just that with Aaron (Jason Liebman).
Photo by S.A. Schwartz

By Meredith Deliso

Amy Holson-Schwartz knew she had a great title on her hands when she had a sold-out run at the Midtown International Theater Festival this past summer with very little advertising.

“Can I Really Date A Guy Who Wears A Yarmulke?” tells the story of a young, single New York Jew who meets the love of her life. The bad part? He’s, like, really Jewish.

Holson-Schwartz, a non-practicing Jew, was inspired to write the play after a Birthright trip to Israel dredged up all sorts of feelings abou the Holy Land, Judaism and love.

“It brought up questions for me about what it means to be young, American and Jewish in modern society — all that existential stuff,” said Holson-Schwartz.

What really did it for her, though, and inspired the trajectory of the piece, was seeing a cute man on the subway and immediately getting turned off by his yarmulke.

The result is the comic love story of Eleanor, a young, single, non-practicing Jew who is set up by her friends with the more Orthodox Aaron. Their differences lead to all sorts of disagreements — over Israel, over the Holocaust, over the roles of women in Jewish society.

Ellen Jacobs, who books special events at the Knitting Factory, saw the play and decided to bring it to the Williamsburg space, where it will run Monday nights in November. 

“It seemed like a lot of young, single people going to the show,” said Jacobs. “I thought it would be really special to do it in another space and, who knows, maybe someone will meet someone and get married.”

The provocative title, and hey, maybe even the promise of a date, may get butts in seats, but what’s sure to keep them there is the universal truths about relationships the play explores.

“People respond to the story. I’ve had a lot of mixed couples, where say, the girl was Jewish and the guy was Christian, who would say, ‘That’s our story,’ ” said Holson-Schwartz. “It’s like real life, only funnier.”

“Can I Really Date A Guy Who Wears A Yarmulke?” at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemayer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], Mondays in November at 7:30 pm. Tickets $18. For info, visit


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