Insightful view of Israeli history from ‘Golda’s Balcony’

A theatrical production blending history and storytelling can be an exciting and enjoyable evening. That’s the premise of “Golda’s Balcony,” a one-woman show starring four-time Tony Award nominee Tovah Feldshuh as Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel. Written by William Gibson and supervised by Scott Schwartz, the play is packed with moments, ideas and stories of Meir’s life.

“Golda’s Balcony” is the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history, and Feldshuh, an associate artist of The Old Globe, has been hailed for her tour-de-force performance that has garnered many awards, including four Tony Award nominations for Best Actress, four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Obie, the Theatre World Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actress for her work on the New York stage. She also has an impressive resume in film and TV performances.

Feldshuh modestly credits the success of “Golda’s Balcony” to the material.

“Mr. Gibson afforded me that opportunity by allowing me do what I call ‘the actor’s tweak,’ ” Feldshuh said. “Which is to put it in the now, the present; it’s happening to her (Golda Meir) at this second. And when the pain is too bad to talk about what’s happening now, she flips back into her memory.

“The beauty is that this is her personal story. She was pulled apart by country and family, and a passion for love of country and ‘her boys,’ who were killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria.”

Golda Meir went from a Russian immigrant to an American schoolteacher to a leader of international policies, and these elements are part of the story delivered by Feldshuh. The name “Golda’s Balcony,” she said, is a play on words.

“It means many things. Golda had many balconies in her life. The most critical that gets revealed has to do very intimately with her relationship with nuclear arms. There were also balconies ... with many different viewpoints that affected her in profound ways.”

The creative team behind “Golda’s Balcony” includes Scott Schwartz (production consultant), Anna Louizos (scenic consultant), Jess Goldstein (costume consultant), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), Alex Hawthorn (sound design), Kathy Fabian (properties), Batwin and Robin Productions Inc. (projections), Nell Balaban (assistant director) and Melanie Ganim (production stage manager).

No matter how many times Feldshuh performs this show, she’s still excited about it.

“I love Golda Meir,” she said. “She loved Israel like it was her firstborn and what she wouldn’t do for that baby. She gave her life for it. But she was also funny, and there’s humor in the show because the audience is entitled to laugh through its fear and laugh through its tears.”

‘Golda’s Balcony’

  • When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 8 p.m.Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays and 7 p.m. Sundays, through May 30
  • Where: The Globe Theatre , 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park
  • Tickets: $29-$77; (619) 23-GLOBE,