Nobody really likes pigeons—they poo on your car windows and peck annoyingly for crumbs at the park. But the homing pigeons in Jewish Theatre Collaborative's adaption of Israeli author Meir Shalev's novel A Pigeon and a Boy are sentimental reminders of the past, of loved ones and, most importantly, of home. The characters speak about themselves in the third person, and the play's structure is unusual as well. It's performed more like an extended poem, with the 10-member cast oscillating between Tel Aviv in 1948 and Jerusalem in 2002. Yair Mendelsohn (Darius Pierce) is a tour guide in Jerusalem, unhappily married and a bit out of place in the family—he doesn't resemble his father or brother, and no place has ever truly felt like home. Yair's mother (Lorraine Bahr) suggests he find a new life for himself, dispatching him like a homing pigeon.
The other story, set during Israelâs War of Independence a half-century earlier, centers on a young pigeon handler (Sam Dinkowitz) and the girl (Crystal Ann MuÃ±oz) he loves. Itâs one of the pigeons this boy dispatches that will unite the two narratives.
Instead of an elaborate set or props, the actors tell the story with elegant and expressive movementsâMuÃ±ozâs performance is so convincing that when she envisions a pigeon in her curled palms and launches it into the air, youâre sure to see wings flapping. Sasha Reich (who also directs) and Doren Elias put their adaptation through 11 drafts, and the work has paid off. The actors, like the pigeons in their charactersâ lives, could not feel more at home.