Handle With Care

by Jason Odell Williams

Handle With Care
Charlotte Cohn

Scenic Designer
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design

Properties Design & Set Dressing
Scenic Art
Production Stage Manager
Public Relations
Technical Director
Set Construction
Assistant Scenic Artists
Production Crew

Light Board Operator
Sound Board Operator
Stage Crew
Key Art
Production Photography

Karen Carpenter
David Potts
Dianne K. Graebner
Jared A. Sayeg
Drew Dalzell
Based on an original design by Jill Du Boff
John McElveney
Orlando de la Paz
Mary K. Klinger
David Elzer/Demand PR
Robert T. Kyle
Red Colegrove, Le Sanne Bernandez/Grove Scenery
Patrick Buchanan, Selina Loggerman, Rei Yamamoto
Watson Bradshaw, Rene Parras, Christopher Rivera,
Arielle Siler, Genetra Tull
Kathryn Horan
Genetra Tull
Rene Parras, Jr., Brie Quinn, Arielle Siler
Michael Lamont

(in order of speaking)


Charlotte Cohn
Jeff Marlow
Tyler Pierce
Marcia Rodd


A motel room in Goodview, Virginia

Christmas Eve, 2008, with flashbacks to the day before

There will be one 15 minute intermission
Running time: Approximately 2 hours

A Note from the Playwright

I’m not Israeli. I’m not even Jewish. But I’ve always been fascinated with faith and religion. Sort of like “Josh” in the play, I grew up “religion-lite” (Catholic mother, Protestant father). When I met and married my Israeli wife, however, and began to light candles on Chanukah and celebrate Passover and Shabbat with her, I started to think more and more about religion and faith, specifically the rituals around them.

When I was growing up, Sundays were never about church, but we would go to my grandfather's house. There would be football (watched on TV and played in the backyard) followed by a big meal – at 4 pm for some reason! And that was our church, our ritual: a big family dinner.
Years later, the Jewish celebrations that my wife introduced me to always reminded me of those Sunday afternoons at my grandfather's house. And it occurred to me that whatever the occasion, faith or religion (Shabbat, Sunday dinner, Easter, Passover, Ramadan), the goal is always the same: to have the family gathered as one.
We try to have family dinners whenever we can: me the “lapsed” Catholic-Protestant, my wife the Danish-Israeli Jew, and our nine-year-old daughter—a beautiful mix of all of the above.

But in this day and age of iPhones and the Internet, family rituals like these seem to be in decline. And that's too bad. Because there’s something wonderful to me about Sunday dinners or Friday night Shabbat. Something beautiful in its simplicity, elegant in its purpose. As “Ayelet” says in the play: “Shabbat. Celebrate. Life…. And family.”
I hope you enjoy Handle With Care, my “Jewish-Christmas play.” And after, have dinner with family and friends. And celebrate life.


 - Jason Odell Williams


A while ago I came across a quote from Tony-winning actor Mark Rylance:

"I met a wonderful jazz musician when we were doing Boeing-Boeing. He was clearly brilliant, and I said to him 'Where can I get a recording of yours?' And he said, 'Nowhere.' I said, 'What do you mean? Are they not available anymore?' And he said, 'No, why would I want to make a recording?' I said, "I don't know, maybe for people who aren't able to be there to hear your music?' 'Why?' he asked. 'I won't be there when they're listening to it.’ He literally never made any recordings; he only was interested in the live, present moment. And the more I thought about what he said, the more I thought, 'Yeah, I really agree – that’s what's most exciting to me: the live, present moment, with a group of actors and an audience and the curious communication that goes on."

I found that pretty fascinating, because if all musicians felt the same way as this un-named jazz musician, we would live in a world without recorded music. Can you imagine that? I can’t.

And in the theatre, what wouldn’t we give to be able to compare Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse in their competing versions of The Lady of the Camellias? How about Richard Burbage’s Hamlet? Or David Garrick’s Richard III? Performances that live in legend, but not in memory, because we’ll never see them.

Recently the idea has emerged of photographing great productions during a performance and screening them in movie theatres far from the cities in which they’re playing, so instead of just reading about Tom Huddleston’s legendary Coriolanus, future generations will actually be able to see it. This is wonderful!

And yet…and yet….that “curious communication” of the “live, present moment,” embraced by an award-winning actor and a brilliant jazz musician, simply is not possible unless both performers and audience are present. Which is why technology, no matter how sophisticated and wondrous it becomes, will never, ever replace living, breathing human beings, the actors and the audience, sharing the experience at the same time in the same space.

A Broadway producer put it this way: “You gotta show up!” What he meant was tonight is different from all other nights. Because you’re here. Now.

Barbara Beckley
Artistic Director


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