ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The New Jewish Theatre continues its 2015-16 Season and opens its first production of 2016 with the compelling one-woman play by Glen Berger, Underneath the Lintel. The story, a metaphysical detective story, centers on a Dutch librarian who finds in the overnight return slot an overdue book (a flagrant violation of library rules). But this is no typical overdue book. This is a "Baedeker’s Travel Guide" that happens to be 113 years overdue. Our diligent librarian is hell-bent on finding the person who deposited it and collecting a very hefty fine.

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So begins her mysterious adventure which becomes a globe-spanning and time morphing quest as she soon realizes she is tracking the mythical “Wandering Jew.” In trying to prove his existence, our intrepid librarian follows a series of clues that take her through space and time – as well as her own personal journey. As she becomes more and more obsessed with her illusive quest, she takes her own personal journey where she not only loses her job but discovers much about herself in this life-changing quest to prove one life and justify another - for existence and thereby, faith.


Using her library stamper which can be infinitely adjusted and thus contains all dates and historic time, it becomes a roulette wheel as well as a possible signifier of loss and memory. Clue builds upon clue and the result of her quest carries mystical and spiritual implications in a play that is ultimately a haunting meditation on time and faith.


The librarian who takes our NJT audiences along as she presents her various clues or “evidences,” is portrayed by New York actress Glynis Bell, a long-time St. Louis Rep veteran who has also appeared at St. Louis Actors Studio under the direction of Lana Pepper. Bell has appeared multiple times on the Rep stage in roles as varied as Ima Perry in The Immigrant in 1988 to the contemporary 2014 production of Other Dessert Cities as Silda. She has also appeared in many Broadway productions including the just closed Therese Raquin. Here at NJT, Bell reprises the role of the librarian that she played in 2009 at Barrington Stage Company.


Director Lana Pepper has previously directed Bell in two other productions in St. Louis, both at St. Louis Actors Studio. Underneath the Lintel will run January 28 – February 13 in the JCC’s Wool Studio Theatre, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. Single tickets are $39.50 - $43.50 and are available at newjewishtheatre.org or 314-442-3283. The production is partially underwritten by Mary Strauss.

 

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