The Wanderers – World Premiere at The Old Globe

One of the best written, most clever and tightly constructed plays I have seen this year premiered at The Old Globe Theatre. Written by Anna Ziegler and ably directed by Barry Edelstein, the play jumps back and forth across time. With a large dining room table as the sole set piece (other than the occasional laptop and hardcover book), the play is reminiscent of Tom Stoppard’s brilliant 1993 drama Arcadia. Ziegler’s story tracks two couples, each facing challenges from within their relationship.
As described in the show notes, Esther and Schmuli are shy young Orthodox Jews embarking on an arranged marriage, despite barely knowing each other. Abe and Julia are high-profile celebrities embarking on a dangerously flirtatious correspondence, despite being married to other people. The five person cast is excellent. Schmuli is played by Dave Klasko, who balances thoughtfulness and respect for tradition with sensitivity. When his wife Esther forces him to choose between the present and the past, Klasko ably evokes the wrenching emotions. His opposite is played by Ali Rose Dachis, who is excellent as the bride who soon pushes against the strictures of the arranged marriage and traditions of the couple’s strict Satmar Hasidic teachings. Dachis was recently seen on Broadway in Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, and brings extreme authenticity to the New York City setting.

(from left) Dave Klasko as Schmuli, Daniel Eric Gold as Abe, and Ali Rose Dachis as Esther in The Wanderers, by Anna Ziegler, directed by Barry Edelstein, running April 6 – May 6, 2018 at The Old Globe. Photo by Jim Cox.

Daniel Eric Gold plays Abe, a successful writer with attendant neuroses. Gold brings to life the self-doubt and paranoia seemingly endemic to writers. Michelle Beck as his wife Sophie is likewise compelling, her character struggles with motherhood, a delayed career and perhaps a better than expected writing talent. Rounding out the cast is Janie Brookshire, who plays a famous movie star fueling a growing relationship with Abe.

Daniel Eric Gold as Abe and Michelle Beck as Sophie in The Wanderers, by Anna Ziegler, directed by Barry Edelstein, running April 6 – May 6, 2018 at The Old Globe. Photo by Jim Cox.

Anna Ziegler’s dialogue is clever and believable. The characters are well-rounded. The pace of the production
never flags, and wraps up without an intermission in about 100 minutes.
The Wanderers is the 2018 award winner of The Blanche and Irving Laurie Theatre Visions Fund, a recipient of a Laurents / Hatcher Foundation Theater Development and the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
The Wanderers should not be missed. It is one of the growing number of plays nurtured in San Diego for success globally.

Ticket information here.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.