This sweeping journey across the life of one woman and, through her, the life of Old World Jews treats us to a handful of clear-eyed ideas that are both beautiful and rarely tackled on stage. What do the survivors of World War II, now old men and women, do with the anger that once protected them and now haunts their lives? Who, if anyone, gets to decide who is "Jewish enough" to lead Israel into the future? That these issues are so pressing makes it all the more frustrating that this 2 1/2-hour solo show is at least a half-hour too long. Bay Area favorites Naomi Newman and director Joan Mankin bring out many of the lovely, arresting little moments created by playwright Martin Sherman (wisely cutting out many more), and the final twist in Rose's tale packs a punch. But how startling and affecting this play would have been if we spent considerably less time in the nooks and crannies of Rose's life and dove head first into the heart of her grief. Molly Rhodes
Through Jan. 28 at Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida (between 17th St. and Mariposa), S.F. (Also playing Feb. 1-11 in Mountain View and Feb. 15-25 in Berkeley.) Tickets are $15-44; call 522-0786 or visit www.atjt.com.