Transplant Lizzie Bennett or Marianne Dashwood and their families into the ultra traditional Haredi Jewish Community in Tel Aviv. Add to the mix, the death during childbirth of a much beloved elder sister and complicate with the collective need of the family for the younger sister to marry her former brother in law....and you get the gist of Fill The Void.( At Theatre Clwyd this evening)
The traditions and customs of this religious community may be as alien to a general audience as tropical fish but the Jane Austen flavour of the romance amid a claustrophobic set of relatives is as familiar to everyone as Kate Winslett in a busty frock.
Rama Burshstein has crafted a fascinating story which centres about the coming of age and wisdom of the teenage Shira ( Hadas Yaron) who has to balance out her family's need for her to marry her grieving brother in law and her own need to self determination. Her journey, typically of Austin , runs an uneven path, a path which is ambiguously outlined by Burshstein , a director who underplays all the messages in the drama.
I loved the fact that Shira's favourite aunt Hanna ( Razia Israli ) is armless...a fact that is never explained or highlighted in the story......it is a fact that is gently and subtly made known as the plot unfolds........
A surreal fact in a very understandable story.
One sequence lingers long in the mind. As Shira eventually gets married and is congratulated by a succession of female relatives, she is seen to descend into an emotional and religious fugue state , it a a piece of cinema which is beautiful and incredibly moving to watch