Move over "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "Jamaica, Farewell," and make room for New Eyes. Performed and co-written by Yafit Josephson, New Eyes is every bit as skillful and delightful as those other contemporary solo classics.
Josephson, a Los Angeles-born actress who was raised in Israel but did her theater training at USC, probes the dual aspects of her young life in New Eyes. Identity and being true to yourself are the themes of the show; credit Josephson with the knack of being able to dramatize those serious concerns in a deft and entertaining way.
The piece opens with contrasting scenes: in one, Josephson revisits the two years she spent in the Israeli air force, learning among other things how to handle an AK-47. That skill served her well as a Hollywood actress, as we learn in scene two which takes place a few years later on the set of a Hollywood war movie. Josephson landed the featured role as an Israeli officer largely because the casting director learned she was "good with guns."
Josephson plays various other roles in those key scenes: her boot-camp drill sergeant, the casting director, the makeup girl, a friend or two. Thanks to her amazing gifts of mimicry and mime, these characters spring to life in quick, telling fashion, a feat that is repeated, numerous times, throughout the show.
New Eyes' manifold scenes fill a large canvas: an acting class, an El-Al airliner, a Tel Aviv disco, the family kitchen, and so on. Josephson holds the whole thing together with her sharply-written, fiercely honest narration. She deals openly with people's misperception of her -- because of her prominent nose and wiry body she is doomed to play nothing but witches and villains -- and with her conflicted feelings about the USA and Israel. Which country does she really belong to? And what price is she willing to pay to fulfill her dreams and destiny?
Again, Josephson explores all of these weighty, universal themes in a skillful way, using satire and wit to make them not only palatable but enjoyable. New Eyes is a winning one-person show about the uniqueness of the human spirit.