Four and a half stars
Indianapolis Civic Theatre; directed by Robert J. Sorbera
Miki Mathioudakis infuses a public larger-than-life figure with realistic down-to-earth warmth, humor, humanity and, yes, the focused ambition that has preceded Golda Meir’s name in conversations regarding the Middle East. Playwright William Gibson originally wrote Golda in 1977 but was never fully satisfied with the script. In 2002 he retackled the play at age 88. Golda’s Balcony comes to us through the perspective of 70-plus-year-old Meir as prime minister of Israel during the harrowing days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when anti-Israel forces attacked a people in the midst of prayer. Infused with flashbacks as she grapples with a way to keep Israel from being annihilated, we learn why she became a humanist working for the betterment of conditions for the poor and the disenfranchised and then a Zionist during her teens living in Milwaukee and how she ended up as a major force in world politics, something she never intended. The wryness of the ascent can be summed up in one quote: “I start out with redemption of the human race and end up with munitions.” Robert J. Sorbera directed with deftness. Special credit to Ryan Koharchik for peerless scenic and lighting design. Through Nov. 16; 317-923-4597, www.civictheatre.org.