Roman Berman: Massage Therapist

By David Bezmozgis

The Broadway Building, 1970 SW Broadway, Room 222
September 14th, 2008 3PM

Sacha Reich

James Pace, Rick Sanders, Wendy Wilcox, Nathan Gale, Todd Tolces, Sharron Fishman, Phil Rudolph and Linda Goertz

The Institute for Judaic Studies in the Northwest

This short story will be adapted for the stage word for word and performed by 8 actors, a number of whom were seen in JTC's successful Israel Onstage reading series in July. "A minyan of marginal Jews-" states Daniel Schifrin in his LA Times review of Bezmozgis' collection, Natasha, "this is the magic demographic that helped transform the work of Babel, Roth, Saul Bellow and so many others. Yet Bezmozgis makes these characters, and the state of marginality itself, uniquely his. This hysterical, merciless yet open-hearted excavation of a Jewish family in the process of assimilating gives his literary predecessors a run for their money." "In 'Roman Berman, Massage Therapist,' Mark watches his father try to recapture his prestige as a trainer for Olympic athletes" Schifrin continues, "Bezmozgis' humor in these stories is explosive, yet perfectly balanced between absurdity and pathos." The reading is a part of the IJS Fall conference, "The Impact of the émigrés from the former Soviet Union on the United States and Israel" taking place Sunday, September 14, through Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008. Interested audiences may register for the entire conference or attend just the reading for a nominal fee.

About the Author

David Bezmozgis – Born in 1973, a Canadian writer and documentary filmmaker. Born in Riga, Latvia, he came to Canda with his family when he was six. He graduated with a B.A. in English literature from McGill University. Bezmozgis received an M.F>A. from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television. His first published book is Natasha and Other Stories. His story “Natasha”, which originally appeared in Harper’s, was included in the 2005 Best American Stories collection; his story “New Gravestone for an Old Grave”, which originally appeared in Zoetrope, will be included in the 2006 Best American Stories collection.