Monday, May 20, 2024

Remembering RBG

All Things Equal brings the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to The Valentine Theatre

Though she passed away in September 2020, the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg won’t soon be forgotten. The legendary Supreme Court Justice was a larger than life figure who inspired millions with victory in the face of adversity throughout her career. The now-iconic figure is at the center of All Things Equal, a new stage production touring through the country that will make a stop at Toledo’s Valentine Theater in March.

All Things Equal is a one-woman play featuring the actor Michelle Azar as RBG, who is teaching the audience (who represents a friend of her granddaughter) about her life. Azar, a theater and television acting veteran, has done single-actor performances before, but an important aspect of RBG’s history was new to her: “I’m very unfamiliar with speaking legalese to an audience,” explained Azar.

The woman behind the woman

Michelle Azar has appeared on shows such as NCIS and Criminal Minds. When All Things Equal comes to the Valentine Theater, it will not be Azar’s first visit to the area. She had visited Temple Shomer Emunim in Sylvania five years ago. “I was in town for a performance of Stars in the Dust, which was composed by my uncle Samuel Adler (a Temple congregant).”

She has also performed on tour an acclaimed one-woman show called From Baghdad to Brooklyn. While she is “excited to get back to a touring” show like All Things Equal, this is an “enormously unfamiliar and daunting” experience bringing a “full-fledged human” to life, she explained. 

“I don’t know, and I can’t possibly know, enough about her,” said Azar. Researching Ginsburg taught her a lot, and she wants to teach the audience what she learned. Azar explained that her career “as an actress has been about learning the psychology of a person, it’s what keeps us going as actors, asking ‘why do what they do?’ But it’s important for the play that I’m not playing a caricature or trying to do an imitation, I’m just paying homage to an important figure.”

Just a person

The most important thing Azar learned about Ginsburg is how “she was all about how a person is able to take a stand and fight for causes for others, no matter who they are. (Ginsburg) and I are Jewish, and being raised in that faith, we are asked to work towards repairing the world, and none of us can desist from that work. Sure, we may not see the end of the work, but it’s not up to us to finish it; we just need to take a stab at it.”

“Ruth knew better than most that people are just people – even ones who change the world. They were never looking to go down in history, they just saw something they wanted to change and did it, and that’s what (Ginsburg) did.” 

To learn more about the massively important figure that is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, watch Michelle Azar embody the supreme court justice in All Things Equal. Valentine Theatre, March 20th, 7:30pm. $29-$69. 410 Adams St., Toledo. 419-242-2787.

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