Like Eliza Doolittle, Ruth Reyes Cohen, that plays the Cockney flower seller in a brand-new production, has undergone a significant transformation.

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Life is imitating art in Beersheba – at least insofar as this year LOGON musical comedy is concerned. This year the amateur theater players the LOGON – “Light Opera group of the Negev” – will be presenting 10 countrywide performances of Lerner & Loewe’s My same Lady. And also like the leading character in the pat – who goes from rags come riches, and in the procedure learns exactly how to speak English effectively – the leading actors underwent similar transformations in discovering the lines for their components – or at the very least the Israeli people who room playing leading functions did. The biggest burden falls on Ruth Reyes Cohen, that plays Eliza Doolittle, the scruffy Cockney flower seller whom Prof. Henry Higgins assures to turn right into a lady by to teach her to speak proper English.
Higgins and also his girlfriend Col. Pickering get in into a bet: Higgins states he will teach the wretched Eliza exactly how to speak and act so perfectly the she will be mistaken because that an aristocrat, also one with imperial blood. When Eliza’s mercenary father, Alfred, agrees, Eliza finds herself a resides of Henry Higgins’s home, spending she days repeating endless elocution practice designed to wipe out her accent, no to cite her bawdy Cockney lingo.
“What taken place to Eliza in the play is actually happening to me, in actual life,” laughs Cohen, a self-described us “Army brat” with family members origins in Puerto Rico. Cohen spent her formative years in Japan, and until reasonably recently assumed she’d invest her life to teach English somewhere in Asia. Instead, she married an Israeli, do aliya to Ashdod and now, instead of to teach the language, has actually been learning both british English and also the tricky Cockney patter as well.

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“I know how Eliza felt,” Cohen says. “Yaacov Amsellem, our director, didn’t want me to watch the 1964 film with Audrey Hepburn too much, due to the fact that then I’d it is in imitating her, no playing the character from my heart. So instead I have recordings of Wendy Hiller, as soon as she played Eliza in the initial 1938 George young name Shaw film Pygmalion. Ns doing exactly the very same thing Eliza did. Ns listen to Hiller’s recorded voice, and then i repeat.”
“I’m even having the same difficulties as Eliza,” she continues. “When we started, Eliza’s posh British interval came reasonably easily, and also it to be the Cockney i struggled with. Then the Cockney took over – the just attacked my brain. Even in day-to-day life, I’d listen myself speaking with a Cockney accent. Currently I’m working to get rid of that, just like Eliza.”
Another much more subtle element of Cohen’s life echoes the of Eliza, too. As Eliza the flower seller was changed from a unstable girl of the roadways to the summary of elegance, Cohen is undergoing her own transformation. Born come Puerto Rican parents, not until she remained in her 20s walk she understand of her very own Jewish ancestry.
“I was elevated as a tendency Protestant, but I constantly felt traction to things Jewish,” she says. “In high school, I also sought the end a Jewish Museum to do my volunteer project. When I walk in to apply, the lady said, ‘So she Jewish?’ I said no. ‘So why space you here?’ she asked. I said I to be interested in Jewish history and she was an extremely welcoming.”
“I also wandered into synagogues on occasion, yet still, i didn’t really connect,” Cohen recalls. “I always felt very close come the God of Israel, but it’s one thing to feel connected to a story and also quite an additional to uncover out you’re component of it.”
Not till a opportunity encounter with some traveling Israelis walk the fact of her very own Jewish identification sink in.
“I’d invested the summer teaching English in Tibet. All summer, Israelis had approached me, speak to me in Hebrew, assuming i was Israeli, too. I’d brushed them off, yet two days before I was as result of fly home, something various happened. Two spiritual Israeli girls approached me, and also wouldn’t think that i wasn’t Jewish,” Cohen says.
“There was something different around them, other I could see,” she continues. “For one thing, castle looked as with me! I invested all my staying time v them, talking and listening. As soon as i was back in Colorado, I practically moved into the windy library. I invested months researching all facets of Jewish history, looking for my own Jewish roots.”
Indeed, Cohen’s research at some point revealed that her ancestors likely had been component of the Jewish exodus indigenous Spain throughout the Inquisition. She involved Israel top top a student visa, studied at the Pardes academy of Jewish researches in Jerusalem, then started volunteering at Casa Shalom, the Institute for Marrano–Anusim Studies, working on situation histories of various other “hidden Jews,” and also her own.
“Then i met mine husband Idan, a Turkish Jew native Spain. Ours backgrounds space very comparable – their home language is Ladino, therefore being with his family members is just like being with mine,” Cohen says.
Trained in both classical music and jazz, Cohen formerly starred in music theater through the Colorado Opera theatre of the Rockies.
“My same Lady has always been my favorite show,” she says. “Now it’s even more special. Both Eliza and I were transformed. I acquire all choked up when I tell the story – it’s been an exceptional experience.”
UNLIKE COHEN, Bernie Goodman, another new immigrant who landed a top role, no struggling v the language. Goodman is “almost a Cockney,” born speaking as with his character, Alfred Doolittle, Eliza’s slightly-tipsy but endearing father.
“My mam Rhoda is the actual Cockney,” Goodman laughs. “Her accent is far better than mine. An extremely refined.”
“I left school once I to be 15, became a market trader in ~ 17, and also for around 15 years, bought and sold every little thing from dress fabrics come fruit and vegetables,” that says. “Finally I sold my organization to a bigger firm and also went to job-related for them, yet that wasn’t good. I was as well accustomed to functioning for myself. Ns quit, and also started steering a taxi in London. I did the for end 33 years.”
“I worked the unsociable hours, indigenous 9 p.m. Come 6 a.m. You meet a tremendous cross section of society doing that – charming, quite people however plenty that rubbish, too,” the says. “I picked up actors, politicians, civilization from all walks the life. London taxi vehicle drivers have the reputation for being the theorists of the road. If you choose up someone who’s troubled in the center of the night, they tend to pour your heart out to you.
“I had some funny experiences, as well – consisting of couples amorously engaged in the earlier of the cab,” Goodman recalls. “I choose up one charming young lady and also took she home. She paid me, yet when I started to relocate off, I experienced her in the mirror, waving she hands, to run after me. She’d left her knickers on the ago seat, she said.
“If you have actually a bent for theater, control a cab is a good thing to do. Ronnie Barker, an English personality actor, takes world off – you deserve to tell he studied people,” Goodman continues. “I have actually the CDs the a Dickens play, Nicholas Nickleby, created by the royal Shakespeare Company. I play it non-stop – ns love listening come the characterizations, seeing how the personalities move. It’s native the male in the street the you find out – the way he walks, offers his hands, move his head. Everything.”
“I go Eugene Ionesco, theater of Absurd, part Jean-Paul Sartre in ~ the Rudolph Steiner Theatre close to Baker Street,” that says. “I was really self-critical. The theatre were largely closed shops so it was difficult to uncover work. I tried to gain into a couple of major drama schools, however wasn’t successful. The various other thing was, I might have joined amateur companies, yet they all had matinee performances ~ above Shabbat, which ns wouldn’t do. At some point I just let the go.”
“There to be a little real legacy office in our Herzliya hotel, therefore we quit in. The certified dealer took united state all over but we didn’t really check out anything in ours price range,” that says. “Then he stated Ashkelon, and also we wanted to watch there. In one development, only one block the end of 4 had to be built, yet he confirmed us the model flat. Mine wife and also I looked, neither of united state spoke a word, yet we came downstairs, got in the office and also signed top top the spot. Us went earlier to London, offered everything and made aliya in September 2008. We haven’t a single regret.”
“I played a real Cockney old man, sit in mine chair in an old-agehome, looking the end the window, reminiscing. Some civilization from LOGON sawthat performance and also encouraged me to audition because that My same Lady,” that explains. “I’m enjoying playing Alfred – he has a little of a swagger, you know, a cock-a-hoop sort of guy. That suits me.”
LOGON – now in that is 29th year – will present My same Lady in venues all throughout Israel, native February 11 come March 11.

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