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February 26, 2016

Local Theater: Shadayim at Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Theater

Cast of Shadayim
Photo: Monica Mulder
This weekend, Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Theatre is hosting an original play for a limited engagement. Produced by Stephanie Bramson and directed by James Dryden, Shadayim (shuh-DI-um) focuses on the not-so-flawless lives of four Jewish women trying to make it through Shiva amidst a whirlwind of revelations and raw emotion. 


Carolyn Ducker (Michelle) and Erica Bamberski (Zoe)
Photo: 
Monica Mulder
Sisters Michelle and Zoe Feldman are coping with the passing of their mother to breast cancer, but in very different ways. I have to admit - I can relate all too well to Michelle's neurotic-isms. She grapples not only with the loss, but the instinct that pushes her to adopt an awkward motherly role to her wayward sister, Zoe. Zoe's cyber porn career is one that Michelle simply cannot understand, but she is far from eager to battle the headstrong Zoe. 
Julie Gottfried (Leah) and Cami Riviesso (Sarah)
Photo: 
Monica Mulder
Michelle and Zoe are joined by their cousins Leah and Sarah Solomon, who arrive with the intention of supporting the duo in their period of mourning. It isn't long before the Shiva is sidetracked by a tense familial clash that pits the Solomon sisters against one another, drawing the Feldman sisters into a dramatic sibling war that reveals far more than any of them bargained for. 
Shadayim is a journey through a range of emotions - a few chuckles, and a few heart-tugs - as the four ladies slowly realize that while they are all very different, they are all beautifully flawed. Michelle and Zoe even welcome the distractions brought on by Leah and Sarah as their Orthodox upbringing creates a tension that Michelle and Zoe try to break. While Leah is entranced and allured by Zoe's wild ways, Sarah is determined to put Leah back on a path befitting the expectations of their religion. We soon learn that such backlash may stem from some secrets that Sarah may be protecting herself. Isn't there often a touch of insecurity behind this type of hypocrisy? Yes - art indeed imitates life!
As their stories unfold, we learn that each pair of sisters shares a very deep, protective love. Through the battles and challenges, their frustrations ultimately come from an attempt at understanding each other, and discovering that, flaws and all, they're all genuinely out to find acceptance - of themselves as well as each other. 
The cast of Shadayim does a brilliant job at displaying the diversity in their characters. The delivery of each is believable, and engaging. The four personalities blend so well, as they demonstrate the very real battle of self-discovery. Everyone can find a connection with at least one of the ladies - they're relate-able because they're so real.  
Shadayim is scheduled for February 26-28 at Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Theatre on International Drive at 8:30pm. Tickets are $15 ($10 for seniors, students, and theme park employees). For more information, or to reserve your spot, call 407-363-1985.