Tucson Lifestyle October 2012 : Page 38

Datebook Ba’Snuker . “Everybody knows lines from those films, and they say them until this day. We use them in all kinds of contexts,” Josephson says. “The basement in our house was filled with stills from the movie sets, all over the walls. I used to go down there every day and look at the pictures. I really wanted to see myself in them.” Her parents supported her aspirations, but the high school she enrolled in did not, shooting down her playwriting audition. When graduation rolled around four years later, she tried out for a spot in the school play, and landed it. Compulsory military service beckoned, and Josephson served her two years, plus an additional six months. Like most Israelis after their enlistment, she wanted to go on vacation ASAP. “Most people go to India, Thailand, all kinds of exotic places after the army,” Josephson says. “My parents said, ‘No way. You’re going to the United States. If we’re sending you anywhere, it’s where someone can watch over you.’” Her older brother was already living in New York, so she headed for the Big Apple … and culture shock. “All kinds of people from all over live in the U.S. You’re exposed to different ways they think about you, and you learn about other cultures. It’s fascinating. But for me, it was also like, ‘Wow! I stepped into the world.’” She eventually headed to Los Angeles, and enrolled first at Santa Monica College, and later received an academic scholarship to the USC School of Theatre. Being exposed to what other college students thought about Israel, and some of the misconceptions they held, really opened her eyes. But it was nothing compared to what she encountered on acting auditions. “When I walked into an audition, they would say, ‘You have a Middle Eastern look, and an accent.’ I would tell them that I’m from Israel. And they’d say, ‘Oh, you were in the army, so you know how to shoot guns?’ Then they’d tell me they have the perfect role for me — usually a girl with a gun in her hand, and not the good guy.” Josephson felt she had a responsibility to fellow Israelis not to play terrorists, but that didn’t leave her a lot of options for parts. She real-ized she’d have to create her own destiny. “One of the things that they teach you at USC is don’t sit around and wait. You have to create your own work and expose yourself.” The interest in New Eyes , which tells Josephson’s story as an immi-grant to the U.S. trying to get work in the entertainment field, grew from mainly fellow Israelis, to the Jewish community as a whole, to non-Jews. It has now been running in LA for more than two years. In order to ensure that the play had broad appeal, Josephson enlisted the aid of African American director/actor Sammie Wayne, who has an NAACP Theatre Award to his credit. “I wanted someone to understand my story from the outside. If an Israeli or Jewish direc-tor were to direct it, maybe it would come out in a way that others couldn’t understand.” Perhaps the best example of how well she has succeeded in transcending boundaries has been the many people who have approached her after the play and said, “Your mom is my mom.” The universal nature of her story truly hits home in the details of every day life. As she concludes with a laugh, “Fox 11 News Anchor Carlos Amezcua told me after the play, ‘Your schnitzel is my taco!’” 1400 N. First Avenue. 882-9721. www.invisibletheatre.com. Yafit Josephson, Oct. 3-7 Oct. 3-7 Invisible Theatre New Eyes It’s a big enough challenge for most actors to portray one role suc-cessfully. Imagine taking on 18 in one play. And co-writing that play — based on your own life. With New Eyes , Yafit Josephson tackled the Everest of theatrical mountains, along with her writing partner Suzanne Bressler, a fellow USC grad. And when it came to staging the work, she had a group she knew really well backing her up. “My brother Eliad is my producer, and my entire family comes to every performance — more than 100 shows. And they’re there because they’re my team. My fiancé does the tickets and greets the guests. My dad takes pictures — he’s the paparazzi guy.” Her mom, who also acts as a de facto publicist, takes things a step further. She makes some of the schnitzel (utilizing breaded chicken) that plays a part in the show, and hands out samples to attendees in the lobby. Josephson has put so much of herself into New Eyes that it’s hard to believe she almost didn’t become an actress at all. Though born in Los Angeles, she grew up in Israel, the daugh-ter of the movie producer who made Charlie Va’hetzi and Hagiga 38 TUCSON LIFESTYLE | OCTOBER 2012 www.tucsonlifestyle.com

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