Five years before the Camp David Accords, currently being dramatized in Lawrence Wright’s play at the Old Globe, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir gave President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger an ultimatum: help us (in the Yom Kippur War with Syria and Egypt) or we’ll use our “temple weapons.” The temple weapons meant nukes. The tense hours surrounding this moment in history constitute the dramatic high apex of William Gibson’s Golda’s Balcony. The 95-minute one-woman show, now onstage at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad, stars Rosina Reynolds in the role Tovah Feldshuh distinguished on Broadway.
As Meir, Reynolds is resolute, even stern, so committed was the woman born Golda Mabovitz in Kiev to the establishment and survival of a state of Israel. The expository Golda’s Balcony is an essential history lesson (with intermittent background projections by Victoria Petrovich) that besides the 1973 showdown with the Nixon Cabinet recalls Meir’s personal journey from Kiev to (of all places) Milwaukee to Jerusalem. But the play directed by Todd Salovey is fiercely political in nature, and Reynolds vividly portrays a remarkable world leader, at a volatile time, who was assuredly not to be messed with.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.