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New production opens tonight at Jewish Repertory Theatre


With tonight's opening of the drama "DAI," the Hebrew word for "enough," the Jewish Repertory Theatre will present an ambitious production that has enjoyed great reviews in New York City, Los Angeles and London. 

Written by actress Iris Bahr, the play explores the stories of 11 people in a Tel Aviv cafe who will become victims of a bombing.

The production presents some complications. The 11 characters, male and female, young and old, are played by the same actress. 

Director Saul Elkin joked that he selected actress Josie DiVincenzo for the lead after seeing her shot to death on a television crime drama.

DiVincenzo has an extensive resume in film and theatre, and has appeared in some of TV's top shows like Desperate Housewives and Friends.

She said preparation for this production "is absolutely on top in terms of the most work I had to do, the most sleep I've lost."

Among her daunting tasks, she will need to portray each character as the explosion occurs.

Steve Vaughan, a fight consultant, offered pointers to DiVincenzo as she acts out the explosion. Beyond helping to build dramatic moments, Vaughan says there are practical concerns.

"Safety first. Has to be safety first. That's why we learn the technique and we do it coldly first."

It's a precarious scenario, Vaughan says, because DiVincenzo will need to fall, in believable fashion, on a small stage cramped with cafe tables and chairs.

It appears Vaughan's instructions have been effective. In the days leading up to tonight's opening, DiVincenzo joked that she was handling the many rehearsal tumbles, though she could use a massage therapist.  

Well aware of the potential problems in falling so many times on stage, DiVincenzo remains focused on developing her 11 characters so the audience grasps the play's main theme.

"What a shame that we don't get see the rest of their story because they died, because of the bomb."

"DAI" runs through March 2nd at the Jewish Repertory Theatre.