Parashat Terumah and Playwriting


Parashat Terumah and Playwriting

By Ilana R. Wieder

Several weeks ago, we read a portion in the Torah called Parashat Terumah. In this portion, The Almighty instructs Moses to collect donated materials from the Israelites to build a dwelling place for G-D called the Tabernacle or, in Hebrew, Mishkan.  The Israelites thought they wouldn’t have enough. They questioned what would we do if we don’t have enough to build the ark, table, menorah and alter? What then? And yet, because everyone was eager to donate what they could, they were able to build the tabernacle together.

A few weeks ago we performed my original Purim Spoof play called, “Mordechai On the Roof.” (Book of Esther set to the music of Fiddler On the Roof)


At first I was worried. I wrote a script for 18 characters and only 7 people showed up for auditions. Weeks before the start of the rehearsals, some other people approached me and auditioned virtually and we added them to the cast. 

But, as the rehearsals began, there were more obstacles to overcome. Some people dropped out, not realizing the amount of commitment expected of them. We started rehearsals with 20 cast members and, after just a few weeks, we ended up with only fourteen.

To read more about how I managed this stress, 

Press Here

Luckily, as the playwright, I was able to rewrite some of the parts and merge some of the other parts. And as the director, I double cast some of the other parts.

And yet, I had a nagging question in my mind; will we be able to pull it off? I was grateful for my team of colleagues, Ellen Prince, the choreographer and Diane King Vann, the music director. And as time went on, I began to realize there was so much more to be grateful for.

So many cast members went above and beyond the call of duty. One person sewed some of the costumes, another built some of the sets, and yet another decorated props and painted backdrops. People offered to be in charge of setting the stage before each rehearsal and storing props and costumes at the end of each night.

During our rehearsal process, I witnessed everyone bringing their gifts to build 

this ‘tabernacle’ we call Purim play, just like in Parashat Terumah. As a result, the performance was astounding! The audience was clapping along with the songs, laughing, booing and cheering!

Weeks later, I still hear how much the audience enjoyed the performance and I can’t help but think it was largely due to everyone in the cast pitching in and working together, offering gifts from their heart.

Group after Mordechai on the Roof

Speaking of gifts from the heart, please click on the link below to read my review of anupcoming picture book called HOW TO WELCOME AN ALIEN by Rebecca Klempner. You can purchase it on Amazon, now!










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