Meet writer Jordi Mand

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April 11, 2024

Jordi Mand is a writer for theatre, film and TV. Her latest project, In Seven Days, will be staged with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in Toronto from May 4-16, 2024. We caught up with her to learn more about the production, how she approached writing about a deeply personal and difficult subject and who she would bring to Shabbat dinner.


Kultura Collective: Hi Jordi! Can you please tell us a bit about you and your work as a writer for theatre, TV and film?

Jordi Mand: As a playwright, I have had 6 world premieres of my plays and those shows have gone on to have wonderful, big, beautiful lives with productions all across Canada, the US, the UK, New Zealand, Iran, Slovenia, Albania, and Italy. My plays have won all kinds of awards, been translated into multiple languages, and published. For TV, I have had the chance to be part of a number of shows as well as development rooms for new series. And for film, I have been working on the screen adaptation of a Canadian thriller novel.

In Seven Days poster

KC: Let’s jump right into your latest project. In 2024, you will debut the play, In Seven Days, first at The Grand in London and then with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in Toronto. Can you tell us about this about the play and the inspiration for it?

JM: The play is about Rachel who arrives at the home of her ailing father Sam and his girlfriend Shelley for Shabbat dinner where her father makes a life-changing announcement. After years of suffering from extraordinary pain, Sam has decided to end his own life through medical assistance in dying. And he’s going to do it in seven days. Rachel, who’s always been close to her father, is devastated and stays the week to try and convince him not to do it. And when Rachel asks their Rabbi to get involved, Sam’s decision and the impact it has on the family only gets more complicated. Torn between love, her Jewish faith, and conscience, Rachel must decide: does she try to change the mind of the family patriarch or does she honour the wishes of her ailing father?

In terms of the inspiration… Several years ago a family friend qualified for MAID and decided to go through with it. He was my father’s childhood friend and an active member of the London Jewish community, so his decision had a significant impact on those around him. I remember talking to my brother about it and he said to me “I don’t understand how someone could choose to do something like that.” I asked him if our father (who we both love and adore) was sick enough to qualify for MAID and decided to go through with it, would he feel the same way? He said, “Yes” and part of me understood exactly how he felt. But as someone who has dealt with serious health issues myself as well as having watched my husband, mother, and grandparents deal with serious health issues, I also completely understood why someone would decide to go through with MAID. This was really the moment the play was born.

Shaina Silver-Baird and Ron Lea star in “In Seven Days”, a new production by the Harold Green Theatre Company and the Grand Theatre, running May 4-16, 2024, at Toronto’s Meridian Arts Centre. (Photo by Dahlia Katz)

KC: The play examines end of life in a Jewish home, saying goodbye and Medical assistance in dying (MAID). Why did you want to explore these themes? Why did you feel it was important to show these themes on stage, instead of on TV or in film?

JM: Largely because of the events described above. As a society, we really don’t talk about death very often. And largely sue to my upbringing and life experiences, I find it so much healthier to actually face death head (when possible) and try to be as prepared as possible (when possible).

It has always been a play first in my brain, but I have been approached about turning it into a film. So, who knows what kind of life this story will have.

KC: What was your strategy for dealing with these difficult and personal subjects?

JM: You mean other than writing a play about it? I find myself talking about this stuff all the time. When I was in high school my mother had a very serious stroke and it was the beginning of me really understand that life is not finite and that we need to take care of practical matters around death and take care of the people around us to try and make the whole process a bit easier, where we can.

KC: How did you incorporate Jewish themes into the writing?

JM: This is a very Jewish play. It’s about a Jewish family, set in a Jewish home. The Jewish religion and culture are very much at the root of this story. And how MAID is seen and responded to in Judaism is central to many of the play’s ideas.

KC: Let’s talk about transforming In Seven Days from a script into a production. Can you tell us about that process?

JM: It’s been an incredible process. The creative team working on this play are phenomenal. Our 5 actors (Mairi Babb, Ron Lea, Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, Shaina Silver-Baird & Ralph Small) are all so, so, so good in this show. They bring their full selves to each and every scene and I am so grateful to be working with them. Our design team (Sean Mulcahy, Siobhan Sleath, and Lyon Smith) have created a world that feels so very real and grips you instantly. And of course, none of this would be possible without the leadership and vision of our director (Philip Akin) who has steered the ship of this process so elegantly. It’s been a really wonderful experience going from the page to the stage.

KC: The play will be premiering at the Grand in London and then staged with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in Toronto (from May 4-16, 2024). How are you anticipating the audience’s reaction? What do you hope viewers will walk away with?

JM: The play closed at The Grand Theatre in March. So going into our run in Toronto with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company is very special because I already have a sense of how some audience members have experienced the show. I have never had such a strong and visceral emotional reaction from audience members to my work before. People laugh and sob and go along with us every step of the journey.

KC: We know you are very busy with multiple writing projects on the go! What else are you working on right now?

JM: I am working on a few new play commissions right now for some incredible Canada theatre companies. I am also in the process of developing my own original TV series with Neshama Entertainment.

KC: What other Jewish creatives should we know about?

JM: Shaina Silver-Baird & Ralph Small (both in my play), Sarah Kitz, Darrah Teitel, Rosa Laborde.

KC: What’s inspiring you Jewish-ly lately?

JM: My daughter, Gilah. She’s almost 4. And really starting to ask serious questions about the Jewish holidays. Seeing it through her eyes gives me such a strong an appreciation for Judaism.

KC: If you could have Shabbat dinner with anyone (Jewish), who would it be and why?

JM: I think right now it would actually be Jerry Seinfeld. I just think it would be a really fun dinner, he would have incredible stories and I would love to pick his brain about his process.

KC: Lightning round question!

  • Applesauce vs sour cream? Sour cream
  • Poppy vs sesame seed bagels? Sesame Seed
  • Raisin vs plain challah? Plain
  • Hummus vs baba ghanoush? Baba Ghanoush
  • Rugelach vs bourka? Rugelach
  • Purim vs Passover? So hard… Passover
  • Spinning the Dreidel vs Finding the Afikomen? Dreidel
  • Shawarma vs falafel? Shawarma
  • Tevya vs Fruma Sarah? Tevya all the way
  • Larry David vs Jerry Seinfeld? Jerry. See my dinner answer
  • Tiffany Haddish vs Fran Drescher? Fran!
  • Lulav vs etrog? How can one pick between the two… Lulav

Award-winning writer Jordi Mand is known for her work in theatre, film, and television. Her work has received global acclaim with translated and published plays like Between the Sheets, Caught, This Will Be Excellent, Brontë: The World Without, and a new stage adaptation of the literary classic, Little Women. Mand was also a writer on the hit CTV drama, Cardinal and has been a member of countless development rooms for Canadian television shows. Upcoming: new projects with the Stratford Festival and the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company and an original TV series with Neshama Entertainment.

Learn more ay www.jordimand.com

In Seven Days:

When Rachel returns to her family home in London, Ontario, her only concern is whether she bought the right bagels for her step-mother to bring to Temple. But when her father reveals his decision to end his life by medically-assisted death in seven days, poppy-seed bagels become the least of her concerns. Torn between love, her Jewish faith, and conscience, Rachel must decide: does she try to change the mind of the family patriarch or does she honour the wishes of her ailing father? A world premiere co-production with the Grand Theatre and the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, In Seven Days is a powerful reminder of the preciousness of life and the challenges of saying goodbye to the people we love most.

Learn more about In Seven Day: https://hgjewishtheatre.com/2023-2024-InSevenDays.html

Learn more about the The Grand Theatre: https://www.grandtheatre.com/our-story

About the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company:

At the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company we embrace and celebrate the Jewish story – stories about our history, stories about our beliefs, stories about our struggles and triumphs. These stories have been 5,000 years in the making; they have universal application. These stories have to be told and need to be seen.

Learn more about the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company: https://hgjewishtheatre.com/AboutUs.html

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