Despite the nerves many might feel, Avi Aharoni isn’t overawed by the task of being part of a world premiere play. This week we talk to Aharoni, an actor, teacher, and all around wandering spirit about staring in the upcoming Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company world premiere of Shul opening April 27 to close the theatre’s 2018-19 season. We talk about what drew him to the theater, traveling the world, and his love of Israel, on this week’s Who The Folk?! Podcast.
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You are starring in the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company show Shul, which opens in late April.
I’m so excited. I mean I’ve had the script in my possession for a couple of months now it’s so well written and they the cast is incredible. I’m excited to get into the room and start playing with it.
Have you acted with any of the other performers before?
Yeah, actually. Charles Numerich is in it and he played my father in the show I did last spring, Natasha and the Coat. I played a Chasidic man and I grew my beard out for eight months. I love that man so much.
Wait. Couldn’t you have just gone full stage makeup instead of immersing yourself and grow the beard?
Yeah, but from the time I’d gotten cast to that show, I only had one show in between so I had a feeling I could like slip by with a beard in the other show. I didn’t want to wear a fake beard – I knew I would have to wear fake payot regardless. I figured I just I wanted it was a challenge myself because I’ve never done a beard for eight months and that was the first time.
There’s a certain amount of authenticity too.
And a certain level of itchiness. I mean I had so much beard oil and beard brushes. I have so much respect for bearded men now so much more respect because I don’t know if I could do it again.
Is there any added pressure because Shul is a world premiere? Or did I just do because I asked about it?
I guess I don’t feel the pressure. I’ll go back to (Director) Robert (Dorfman) at the helm and the cast – I mean that cast is so good. There is no way we won’t do it justice.
When did you start acting?
I remember distinctly; I was in sixth grade at the Minneapolis Jewish Day School and I had friends who did like the musical theater summer camp at in the J. The theater was like having a lot of child productions and I remember being like “I could do that” so I did.
I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know why my brain thought I could, but I signed up for the musical theater summer camp that following summer and just from the first show I was like “OK cool I’m onstage now for my life like it and that was it. I just didn’t question it at that time and I then from there just signed up for every musical theater summer camp, every summer through middle school and high school.
Do you remember what the first show was?
Ok. Well, I hope he doesn’t listen: it’s was a new script okay written by the director who I’ve grown up with and now like good friends and he’s seen me grow up it’s like he’s really helped me out as a good mentor. But show he wrote, it was called The Bug. I remember I did it and my mom afterward said I did a great job. I played a background orphan. But the following year I remember watching a VHS tape of it and going to my mom and said: “That show was really bad.” And she was like “Yeah, I lied to you, Avi.”
She lied as only parents could do.
If she didn’t lie to me, where would I be now?Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!