doesn't begin to cover it. Sara Felder juggles. She sings - in English and in Hebrew. She dances. She tells autobiographical stories. She discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She manipulates shadow puppets. But mostly,
Out of Sight
, currently at the Shubin Theatre, is a love letter to her mother, a woman of imagination, passionate Zionism and personal courage.
And, sweetheart (as her mother would say), Sara Felder happens to be, by the way (as her mother would say), a lesbian.
And, sweetheart (as her mother would say), her mother happens to be, by the way, blind.
Sara learns this at age 8, when her mother takes her to the Metropolitan Opera for the first time: "Sweetheart, I'm blind." "What???" "Are you deaf? I'm blind." It's a voice and a personality that kind of creep up on you, although I've never been a big fan of autobiographical circus acts with political subtexts.
Like most plays since Oedipus, Out of Sight uses blindness figuratively as well as literally, about Israelis and Palestinians, Reform Jews and Orthodox Jews - and, please, don't even mention Republicans ("Mom, I never dated a Republican." "Well, she certainly wasn't Jewish").
Felder's juggling is impressive, although after the colored chiffon scarves and the lemons and the pink ball that glides around the back of her hand, once she gets on a teeter-totter balanced between two chairs and juggles three big cleavers - well, I was glad not to be sitting in the first row in this very small theater.
Despite the brevity of the show (about 70 minutes), the shadow puppets, which are charming enough to look at, descend into a childlike simplicity and tempo that changes the tone of the show - too much of the overworked cliche "make lemonade when life hands you lemons."
That tone is hard to define, although Out of Sight hardly demonstrates the radical sensibility the promotional materials promised (or threatened). In fact, it is filled with a mother-and-daughter relationship that is as sweet as it is complex, and lesbianism is a very minor element in the show's agenda.
Felder is far more Borscht Belt than Queer Eye, and Out of Sight is, as she tells us, a show that is "For Jews Who Have Considered Nose Jobs When Voting Republican Was Enough."
Out of Sight
Written and performed by Sara Felder. Directed by David O'Connor, shadow puppets by Morgan F.P. Andrews, sound by Matthew Lorenz.
Playing at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge St.). Through May 27. Tickets $15-20. Information: 1-800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com.