Yiddish Lab 1.0

October 17 – November 3, 2012 @ The Brick

Like a comet across the sky, Yiddish culture exploded in creativity in the 19th and 20th centuries, and then went tragically dark. But the literature lives. These plays are as vibrantly contemporary as any in world drama, and our productions thrummed with immediacy. This is not your grandpa’s Yiddish theater.

God, Man, and Devil
by Jacob Gordin
Lead Artist: Donya Washington
People are righteous when righteousness doesn’t cost them much, or when it brings them some profit. Satan puts man to the test to show God how much he can depend on even the finest and best of them.

by Alter Kacyzne
Lead Artist: Joshua William Gelb
A profane retelling of an old legend about a Catholic Duke’s conversion to Judaism and his subsequent martyrdom at the stake. First produced in Warsaw in 1925, this outrageous epic-drama shatters what Kacyzne considered tedious theatrical conventions of the time, reveling in the absurd hypocrisies so common to all religiously driven communities.

After Midnight
by Samuel Daixel
Lead Artist: Stephanie Weeks
The clock strikes Midnight. All is still. But is it? Something’s stirring, something’s budding, howling, falling. Something…

by David Pinski
Lead Artist: Ásta Bennie Hostetter
Watch the most damaged members of society vie for the smallest piece of land: “That isn’t your place! … Since I’m standing upon it, it’s mine!”

A Night in the Old Marketplace
by I.L. Peretz
Lead Artist: Kathleen Purcell
Love, Death, Gargoyles, and Settlement. An absurdist interpretation of this classic poetic/social drama explores the question: what came before the shtetl?

Lead Artist: Joseph Fletcher
A pious, rowdy, and occasionally lewd telling of the story and spirit of the megile (the book of Esther) from a diverse selection of Purim plays. 1500 years of Yiddish theatre tradition wrapped up in the competition betwixt the religious and secular identity of a people.

Shulamis, or The Well and the Pussycat
after Abraham Goldfaden
Lead Artist: Gil Sperling
Goldfaden’s classic operetta offers hum-along Schlagers such as “Rozhinkes mit mandlen,” mixed with male treachery, bride-snatching and infant mortality.

A reading of The Haunted Inn by Peretz Hirschbein
Directed by David Herskovits
A preview of Target Margin’s mainstage production produced at Abrons Arts Center in March 2013.

Panel Discussion: The Other Yiddish Plays
with Debra Caplan, Caraid O’Brien, Alyssa Quint, and Nahma Sandrow
Beyond the unknown plays you could find in a library, lies the glorious field of Yiddish plays that have never been translated—this is the largest part of the literature by far, and includes some of the most celebrated works. What about all these unknown unknowns??? Four scholars who do know introduce you to a few of these works, a taste of heaven to whet your appetite.