Set in Toronto in 1948, a Jewish family struggling to recover from the horrors of the war in Europe finally has cause to rejoice: Ruth is about to be reunited with the only surviving member of her immediate family–her brother Freddie. But when she goes to Union Station to meet him, she is faced with the most devastating shock of her young life: the brother she was expecting turns out to be a stranger, an impostor holding her brother’s papers.
Suddenly she and the family with whom she lives are forced into a situation that is almost impossible to resolve: if they abandon this displaced person they condemn him to more pain, more suffering and risk the possibility of his being deported. For Joe, the patriarch of the family, there is no choice: to save one life is to save the world. He takes this enigmatic “Freddie” into his home, and calls upon himself and the other members of the household to embark on finding some way of living with their suspicions, their anger and their guilt.
At what point do you stop helping your fellow man? Should there be a line between “blood” and “water”? Where does responsibility end? The play follows the paths of Ruthie, Joe and the rest of the family as they come to terms with what it means to accept, to forgive and to survive.
The title is a Talmudic reference to the hope that exists for humanity. When a person does a good deed that (s)he doesn’t need to do, God looks down and says, “for this moment alone it was worth creating the world”. (From CPO Website).
JOE: a Jewish man in his early 50s
AUNT BERTHA: Joe’s sister, in her 50s
NORMAN: Joe’s son, 19
RUTHIE: Joe’s niece by marriage, 24
SOL: Joe’s neighbor and friend, in his 50s
ADA: Sol’s wife, in her 50s
YOUNG MAN / FREDDIE: a haunted young man, 25
2011, Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton, ON
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