The Spanish Prayer Book
Moral dilemma, historical mystery, and matters of the heart converge when a committed atheist inherits a collection of rare and hauntingly beautiful illustrated Hebrew manuscripts, including a prayer book from fourteenth-century Spain, and discovers that the books, which bear witness to overlapping Jewish and Islamic traditions, were stolen some six-hundred years after their creation from a library in 1940s Berlin. Inspired by true events and a late twentieth-century court case, and using projected images of the books themselves, the play explores the allure of sacred objects, the ethical issues generated by cultural treasures displaced during wartime, and the power of art to forge human connections. Named one of the top 21 plays (from a field of over twelve hundred) for the Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle Hart New Play Initiative, an HRC Showcase and FutureFest Official Selection, Julie Harris Award Top-5, and Eugene O’Neill semi-finalist.
THE REVIEWS ARE COMING IN…
“Once in a while, too rarely, a new play-of-ideas comes along that… speaks out in an increasingly inhumane world, of what it means to be humane. Angela J. Davis’s The Spanish Prayer Book (in a world premiere at The Road on Magnolia) is one such work… The Road Theatre deserves enormous credit for producing this intricate, beautiful and important play.
– Steven Leigh Morris, Founding Editor of Stage Raw
“The Road Theatre Company has a gift for subtle and important work. They pick their plays with such precision, compassion and love, you’ll forgive me if I say they sometimes appear to be heaven sent.”
“Remarkable…fascinating…an exquisite…marvelous and moving play.”
“Utterly beautiful, elegant and profound and the performances are truly beguiling.”
“Allison Blaize pours every ounce of passion into the character.”
“The lighting design is…subtle, sensitive and quite haunting.”
“The scenic projections are elegant and richly detailed.”
“The ensemble of veteran actors is superb.”
“The projections of the actual illuminated manuscripts are utterly fascinating.”
Playwright – Angela J. Davis
Director – Lee Sankowich
Producer – Laurie Bernhard/SPARK Theatrical
Producer – Zeljka Gortinski
Asst. Director – Ann Hearn Tobolowsky
Stage Manager – Maurie Gonzalez
Set Designer/Projections – Yuki Izumihara
Costume Design – Kate Bergh
Lighting Design – Derrick McDaniel
Sound Design – David B. Marling
Property Master – Heath Harper
Sunday, September 29, 2019: After-performance reception
All audience members are invited to an after-performance reception with playwright, director, and members of the cast and creative team.
Sunday, October 6, 2019: AFTER-performance AND PRE-performance discussion: The true story that inspired The Spanish Prayer Book
Ticket holders for either the 2:00 p.m. primary cast performance OR the 7:00 p.m. alternate cast performance are invited to attend a 4:00 p.m multi-media presentation with playwright Angela J. Davis and director Lee Sankowich on the true story that inspired The Spanish Prayer Book and the journey of transforming history into theatre.
Sunday, October 20, 2019: AFTER-performance and PRE-performance discussion: The Human Impact of Cultural Treasures Displaced During Wartime
Ticket holders for either the 2:00 p.m. primary cast performance OR the 7:00 p.m. alternate cast performance are invited to attend this special presentation at 4:00 p.m:
Join special guests Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh (UC Davis Professor, Islamic Art Specialist and author of the NY Times – recommended The Missing Pages (2019, Stanford University Press) and Michael Bazyler (Chapman Law School Professor and international authority on restitution after genocidal crimes), together with playwright Angela J. Davis for a discussion of the human impact of cultural treasures displaced during wartime.
Sunday, October 27, 2019: AFTER – performance discussion: Islamic and Jewish Perspectives: Social Justice and Sacred Objects During Human Aggression
Ticket holders to the 2:00 p.m. performance are invited to a discussion with special guests Aziza Hasan (executive director of New Ground, a Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change), Rabbi Kenneth Chasen (senior Rabbi, Leo Baeck Temple), and playwright Angela J. Davis for a discussion of Islamic and Jewish thoughts on social justice and sacred objects impacted by human aggression.