"This picture everyone has of me, Mommile Golda who makes chicken soup for her soldiers, it's a nice picture and I do make chicken soup, but let's empty it all out for keeps, right now. At the bottom of the pot is blood." - Golda's Balcony
A one woman show telling the life story of Golda Meir. Written by William Gibson (not the man who wrote Neuromancer), directed by Scott Schwartz, and acted superbly by Tovah Feldshuh. The play centers on the Yom Kippur War, and more importantly, Golda's decision to go nuclear during the war.
We open on Golda Meir's kitchen table, her first balcony. The place is Tel Aviv, the time is 1973. A phone call lets the audience know that the nation is at war. The sounds of bombs exploding and guns firing were a helpful clue. Golda calls a cabinet meeting, which serves as a focus for the play.
From this meeting, we move back and forth in time with Golda through her memories. A simple stage, set with walls of Jerusalem stone, becomes a home in Kiev, a street in Milwaukee, a DP camp in Cyprus, an apartment in Tel Aviv, and a view into Hell. Golda herself takes us on a whirlwind trip through history, with Tovah Feldshuh playing anyone from King Abdullah of Transjordan to Moshe Dayan to Golda's grandson.
"What happens when idealism becomes power?"
The title refers to an observation post at the Dimona reactor. Golda spent so much time there, that some of the scientists nicknamed it "Golda's Balcony." And, according to Gibson, it was during the Yom Kippur War that the decision to use what they had at Dimona became an issue. Does Israel arm her nuclear weapons? "To save a world you create - and this is the terrible question - how many worlds are you entitled to destroy?"
Currently playing at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway, I can assure you that this show is all that the critics say it is, and more. Tovah Feldshuh is a powerhouse, playing Golda with no holds barred, right down to the Wisconsin accent. Gibson's play is a true presentation of what happened, with no sugarcoating to make her look better. The play's Broadway run ends January 2, and if you can see it before it closes, I highly recommend it.