Theater Review: ‘Golda’s Balcony’ from the Public

 

William Gibson’s solo show about one of the most powerful women in history is brought to vivid life by Diane Kondrat’s mesmerizing performance as Golda Meir.

Here, we’re not just listening to Meir relate the story of her life; she’s compellingly pulling us into it. And what a life it was. Her emotions churn as she recalls the living conditions in a refugee camp in Cypress. Or imagery of dead Jewish boys still clasping stones who were overmatched by firepower. But she can also lighten up and tell a couple of schmeery jokes. It’s a realistic performance.

Still, we must not forget that this was the woman who brought us dangerously close to nuclear war in 1973. As she observes, “More life for all means more death for some.”

In fact, the play’s title refers to a platform from which observers looked out over Dimona, the site of the secret Israeli nuclear weapons program.  Meir visited it so frequently that it took on the nickname “Golda’s Balcony.”  She mentions it as “a view into hell.”

The Public has made such good choices for its streaming solo shows. Whether focusing on a real public figure (Thurgood) or a fictional character (Fully Committed), the 2020|2ONE series allows the actors to provide the audience with an intensely intimate experience that the stage can frequently render too distant.

Golda’s Balcony is no exception. Well directed by Susan Hardie, Kondrat is in constant motion, demanding us to take measure of the woman who was a gigantic part of history in the middle east during one of its most turbulent times. It plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. through April 18. Tickets are available here.

Feature photo by Diane Kondrat.

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