By ANA FOTA
Arts Editor Emerita
When the play she had been working on throughout the summer fell through, Fordham alumna Jane Tuv, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ‘07, along with the other five women in the cast, contemplated their next steps. Not ready to give up, they quickly realized they had something unique to work with: their own stories. The women set out to write a completely new play—one that would take elements of their lives along with those of other women they had interviewed, and showcase them in a different way. They were going to lay the facts out and let the audience decide who’s side they’re on. Thus, “Through the Curves” brought to life.
“We are presenting the stories without judgement, ” Tuv said, adding that“It allows the audience to sit in the discomfort of not having an answer.”
Tuv remembers her time at Fordham fondly. Although she was first a journalist, at one point working for Forbes, she switched career paths upon realizing she wanted to work with children. She founded the Arlekino Theater Troupe, for Russian-speaking Jewish children, as well as the first Russian language infant and toddler program in Queens, called The Kinder Klub. When we spoke on the phone, she was in Los Angeles, about to receive the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize for Jewish Education. She is one of five people in the United States to receive the 15 thousand dollar prize this year.
When she returned to New York, Tuv continued working on “Through the Curves,” as final rehearsals were underway. Although unexpected, a national discussion regarding women’s rights arose in the past few months. It adds an additional layer of relevance to the issues this play addresses.
The play is a combination of monologues and poems, on issues such as childbirth, body image, pain, sexuality and BDSM. When it comes to tackling the latter, Tuv stresses their deviation from the norm. “I’ve never seen BDSM portrayed in a positive light. If you have a sex positive experience through something that people deem dirty, people don’t talk about it,” she said.
To convey the stories truthfully, the work is staged through the lense of what is known as the verbatim technique. “You have to go inside yourself,” Alya Adelman, producer and cast-member, said of the process. “You find stories you feel strongly about. And because these stories are not fictional, they will resonate with people more.” As for the title, Adelman said it reminds of a woman’s body on purpose, however it means something different. “It’s about the trajectory of life itself,” she stated. “Life has curves, it goes up and down.”
Although Adelman originally wanted to work with a female director, she decided that bringing on “more testosterone,” as she put it, would help complete the approach. Gera Sandler, their Israeli-Russian director, led an intensely collaborative effort to bring these stories in front of an audience. He emphasized the importance of truthful portrayal, without judgement. “Let’s put it this way,” he explained, “I want the show to ask as many questions as possible and provide as few answers as it can.”
The cast boasts a varied cultural background, including Israeli, Ukrainian, Russian Honduran and Belarusian descent, among others. However, they have found more common ground than one would expect, and the experiences portrayed could belong to anyone. “Humans all over the world are the same creatures with the same problems,” Sandler said. “As a creator, I am interested to find these common issues.”
“Through the Curves” premieres this weekend at JCC Manhattan, for two performances only on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Students can use the discount code TTC20 for $10 tickets.