But in the end, Rose’s recounting of the emotional vicissitudes of her saga does not make for a lively evening of theater. A life, however filled with incident it may be, is not inherently dramatic, and most of the drama in “Rose” feels lifted, chapter by chapter, from the history books. This material has simply been mined too often to maintain its fascination in this sober but skin-deep rendering.
Nor does “Rose” dig deeply into any of the larger issues it raises, such as the existence (or not) of God in the hearts of Holocaust survivors, the death of European Jewish culture, and the moral ambiguities of the new Zionist culture that rose from its ashes.
As Rose confidentially recounts the joys and trials of her life, the lovemaking and the heartbreak, the clashes with history and the dramatic surprises, Sherman’s play eventually begins to resemble a solo stage version of one of those panoramic romance novels that plop an indomitable heroine down in a tumultuous historical period and let her run a gauntlet of heart-tugging obstacles on her way to wisdom and contentment. “Danielle Steel’s Diaspora,” heaven help us!