Handle with Care

North Carolina Stage Company is proud to present, for the 2019 holiday season, “Handle With Care” by playwright Jason Odell Williams (with Hebrew written by Charlotte Cohn), called “a hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy … which exudes gobs of comic energy and insight” by The New York Times.

The production runs through Sunday, Dec. 22.

“Handle With Care” opens on a snowy Christmas Eve in Virginia, as a tense situation quickly unfolds. Delivery driver Terrence’s truck, with all his cargo, has gone missing, and Ayelet, an Israeli woman visiting the U.S. for the first time, is demanding answers to the whereabouts of her missing grandmother. Her grandmother — or, rather, her grandmother’s deceased body, we quickly learn — was aboard Terrence’s delivery truck, on its way to be shipped back to Israel for burial, when it was stolen along with the rest of Terrence’s cargo.

Ayelet, who does not speak English, is understandably confused and frustrated with Terrence, who does not speak Hebrew, and the two are unable to communicate the basics of the difficult situation. In an attempt to circumvent the language barrier, Terrence calls Josh, an old friend, to the scene — albeit on the incorrect assumption that, because Josh is Jewish, he can speak Hebrew. As it turns out, Josh can’t speak Hebrew (unless quoting his haftorah counts), but, despite all odds, there’s a spark between the two strangers.

In “Handle With Care,” circumstances both hilarious and tragic bring together a young Israeli woman and a young American man. Is their inevitable love an accident? Or is it destiny, generations in the making?

“Mr. Williams has achieved something special,” writes a critic for The New York Times. “He has written a Jewish Christmas story.”

Although Ayelet speaks very little English throughout this bilingual production, the audience will have no trouble understanding the emphatic character, whose story is told through both the present-day delivery fiasco and in flashbacks with her grandmother (during which the two characters speak English).

The North Carolina Stage Company production of “Handle With Care” stars Anna Slate as Ayelet, Barbara Bloomberg as Edna (Ayelet’s grandmother), Ben Mackel as Josh and Aaron Brakesfield as Terrence — with direction by Patricia Snoyer Black.

“Handle With Care” runs from Wednesday to Sunday through Dec. 22, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays, with additional matinee shows on Saturday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 21.

Tickets are on sale now for $18-$38, depending on seating section, and special $10 tickets are available for students under 25 with a valid student ID. Tickets can be purchased online at ncstage.org or by calling 828-239-0263.

The North Carolina Stage Company is located at 15 Stage Lane in downtown Asheville and has been producing professional theatre in its 125-seat playhouse since 2001. Call 828-239-0263 or visit www.ncstage.org.

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