Desert Dwellers, Part One

DVD of live performance directed by Scott Weintraub.

Harriet Rochlin
Price: $0.00


Extensive historical research spawned a social history jammed with pioneers of incomparable diversity. Their stories endowed me with a collective Western Jewish past that immeasurably deepened and broadened my own and my husband's family lore. Lifelike characters emerged demanding I do for them what is forbidden to academic historians: imagine their intimate lives and inner thoughts. Three novels later, they insisted on seeing themselves on stage as human beings propelled into the Far Western maelstrom by licit and illicit impulses.


This forty-five-minute play reading was directed by Scott Weintraub and performed by seven actors. The video was shot by Dan Reynolds, Photographer, at a live performance at the Los Angeles Public Library's Mark Taper Auditorium on March 8, 2007. A three-minute photo montage of San Francisco in 1875, backed by music, sets the scene. Creatively interpreted, skillfully directed and acted, the reading vividly portrays Jews feeling their way into the new, culturally mixed, and ever-changing American West.


"What a beautiful, spirited, funny play that brings Jewish history to life in such a palpable way. A wonderful range of characters, from the schlemiels to the Yiddisher cowboys. I'd love to see the play fully staged." - Louise Steinman, Curator of ALOUD Program, Los Angeles Public Library

"I was very impressed and very entertained. The characters were fully realized people whom I cared about from the start. The play has a good forward motion, very fluid, very dramatic, and the narration works very well. It feels like an excellent adaptation. And the story is just plain good." - Laurie Lathem, Actor/Director

"Rochlin captured the challenges of a young Jewish woman of the 1870s while connecting to western women of all backgrounds....This authentic immigrant family tale casts an optimistic Western light on an age-old generational conflict." - Jane Kirkpatrick, awarding-winning author of A Light in the Wilderness

Product Description

DVD of live performance on March 8, 2007, presented by ALOUD,
Mark Taper Auditorium, Los Angeles Public Library.
Length: 45 minutes
Directed by Scott Weintraub
Dan Reynolds, Director of Photography and Editor
Brooke Bloom as Frieda
Ben Covette as Bennie
Zoey Zimmerman as Miss O'Hara
Ray Proscia as Abram Levie
Seth Sultan as Shapiro, Gimel, and Al
Daniel Hartley as Harry and Charlie

For promotional use only. E-mail to request a DVD for nonprofit presentations, or for the script for new theatrical productions, of Desert Dwellers Trilogy, Part One: The Reformer's Apprentice.