The Man in the Sukkah

What does it mean to take someone into your home? The Man in the Sukkah is a tale of intergenerational trauma, buried secrets, and questing for identity. Southern Gothic and secular Judaism collide on a former plantation in rural South Carolina where the woods have more ghosts than trees. When Harris and Elaine take in a troubled teenager, Aviva, as their foster daughter - Aviva rebels by insisting on living in...
What does it mean to take someone into your home? The Man in the Sukkah is a tale of intergenerational trauma, buried secrets, and questing for identity. Southern Gothic and secular Judaism collide on a former plantation in rural South Carolina where the woods have more ghosts than trees. When Harris and Elaine take in a troubled teenager, Aviva, as their foster daughter - Aviva rebels by insisting on living in the yard in a sukkah (a temporary hut with three walls used during the Jewish festival of Sukkot). The sudden appearance in Aviva's sukkah of a mysterious man from Elaine's past sends further tremors through their lives. With Aviva at stake, Elaine and Harris must confront a perilous question: can they overcome the downward pull of history and their troubled upbringings to become good parents?
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The Man in the Sukkah

Recommended by

  • Cheryl Bear:
    10 Jul. 2021
    A powerful look at trauma and healing as a family tries to find their way through. Well done.
  • Nick Malakhow:
    27 Apr. 2021
    Haunting, image-rich, and theatrical, "The Man in the Sukkah" ties together so many elements--generational and family grief and trauma, faith, the complexities of fostering a child grappling with trauma, and much more--beautifully. As is characteristic of many of her pieces, Yarchun threads through gorgeous, direct, and exquisitely rendered visual metaphors (birds, trees, the language of colors) that amplify the themes and ideas discussed within. The rhythms of tempos of each character are distinct, and I loved the theatricality of the simultaneous scenes. I'd so love to see a production of this!
  • Audrey Lang:
    14 Mar. 2021
    "The Man in the Sukkah" does a great job in addressing the nuances that come along with having Judaism as a part of your identity, and so much more. The parallels between Elaine and Aviva, and between lives and stories, are compelling. The role that color and colorblindness play in this story is also so interesting, and unlike anything I've ever read or seen before!

Character Information

  • Aviva
    14,
    Female
    Incredibly bright, delusionally adult. A childhood sexual abuse survivor.
    (Note: The actress playing Aviva should avoid at all possible costs playing the maudlin / depressed teenager. Aviva’s not.)
  • Elaine
    39,
    Female
    An art therapist and new foster mother. Pragmatic. Constrained. She collects broken birds.
  • Harris
    40s,
    Caucasian
    ,
    Male
    Elaine’s husband. A freelance carpenter. Legally color-blind. He is blinded by bright lights, but has incredible night vision. Both tender and rough.
  • Nate
    36,
    Male
    A drifter. Sometimes very human, sometimes unsettling. He carries himself with a tension and a stillness, as if he’s on the edge of a cliff.

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Theatre Ariel
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    Jewish Ensemble Theatre
    ,
    2015
  • Workshop
    ,
    The Playwrights' Center
    ,
    2014
  • Workshop
    ,
    Jewish Plays Project
    ,
    2013

Production History

  • University
    ,
    University of Iowa
    ,
    2012

Awards

Winner
,
Jewish Ensemble Theatre Festival of New Plays
,
Jewish Ensemble Theatre
,
2015
Finalist
,
Kentucky Women Writer's Conference Prize for Women Playwrights
,
Kentucky Women Writer's Conference
,
2013
Winner
,
Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award
,
University of Iowa
,
2012
Finalist
,
Jewish Plays Project's National Competition
,
Jewish Plays Project
,
2012
Winner
,
Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award
,
KCACTF
,
2012