Vial is the story of Sara, a Mizrahi (a Jew from an Arab country) professor in a Canadian Jewish Studies Department. Her brightest student, Aliya, (a Ukrainian-Jewish immigrant) begins writing a controversial article that alarms one of the Department’s main donors. The chair of the department pressures Sara to ensure that the paper isn’t published by threatening her faculty position.
At the same time, Sara and her non-Jewish partner Hannah are struggling to have a baby and questions surrounding their child’s future identity and how it will be raised, strain their relationship. As a result, Sara is faced with concurrent professional and personal dilemmas that begin to converge. During polarized times when extreme voices on the left and right threaten to pull life and academia apart, Vial examines the difficult balancing act of holding onto the centre.
Keywords: Jewish, anti-semitism, LGBTQ+, Social Justice, Diversity, Sex/Sexual Politics, Gender Roles/Identities, Family Drama, religious questioning, Israel, Assimilation, Immigration, migration
Run time: 90 minutes
Suitable for students 16+
Content note: Contains some swearing
Cast size: 5 actors
Male roles: 3 (2 with doubling)
Female roles: 3
Casting note: Actors need not be from the same culture/religion as the characters but should be willing to take the time to research their backgrounds.
Sara Gamliel: Late 30’s, Jewish Studies Professor. Yemenite-Jewish background.
Aliya Svetlova: Early to mid-20s. Israeli-Ukrainian immigrant, one of Sara’s MA students.
Jacob Heilman: Mid to late 20’s. T.A. of Sara and editor of the Jewish Journal. Religious Ashkenazi Jew. He wears a kippah.
Hannah Legun: Sara’s partner, mid-30s. Corporate lawyer. Mauritian-Asian background.
Dr. Abraham Farber/Committee Member: Chair of Jewish Studies/Presiding over the University Council.