Chaim Potok's coming-of-age story isn't a sappy World War II drama about Ilana (Kayla Lian), a girl growing up with Communist parents in New York. Instead, Jewish Theatre Collaborative's new play feels eerily present-day. Trump springs to mind when one character calls Hitler "a clown who nobody takes seriously," or when the play zooms in on gender discrimination. Ilana's point of view anchors the story, with other characters referring to themselves in third person. While the nontraditional technique seems like an improv game, it gives the play an urgency that fits the intense subject matter of fascism and communism. Quick scene changes and abrupt blackouts augment that intensity and give a realistic perspective of what the events would look like to a child. Lian's physical acting successfully characterizes Ilana as a child, with deliberate gestures and overt emotion, but her voice verges on overacting. Danielle Weathers as the mother brings a welcome tenderness to her brash character and nails the Polish accent. Extra show 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 30.
See it: Davita's Harp is at Milagro Theatre, 525 SE Stark St., 236-7253. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, March 19-April 9. $30.