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

  • Emma Goldman-Sherman:
    17 Dec. 2018
    There is so much in this play that I love - the begats, the yard-sites, the way Yarchun makes everything very specific and necessary so that nothing at all is extraneous, every line of this play is the whole play. A thrilling and dramatic piece that would be so incredible to light, and then to see!
  • Shira Pollio:
    2 Mar. 2015
    I'm surprised there isn't as much southern gothic literature that deals with the complexities of southern Judaism, especially when the results are as spellbinding as The Man in the Sukkah. Yarchun masterfully blends a complex family drama with age-old questions of trauma and healing. Her characters are brilliantly rendered and achingly real, and the pace was gripping, but left enough breathing room to appreciate the histories coming to light. Overall, a very moving piece.

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
,
Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award
,
KCACTF
,
2012
Winner
,
Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award
,
University of Iowa
,
2012
Finalist
,
Jewish Plays Project's National Competition
,
Jewish Plays Project
,
2012