Collection of three stageworthy Yiddish plays and ten stand-alone scenes, from drama to slapstick, from realism to fantasy, with directors’ notes, playing histories, and other guides to successful English-language performance. Brief lively notes put the plays in context of modern western theater and modern Jewish history.
How is this book different from all other Yiddish play anthologies?
- Approaches Yiddish plays without apology as theater, not as Jewish history, sociology, or nostalgia
- Puts Yiddish theater in the context of modern western theaters
- Only collection of Yiddish plays and scenes showing a previously unknown wide range of genres (slapstick comedy, poetic symbolism, brutal naturalism, romantic fantasy, domestic drama, etc.)
- Plays are chosen because they are stage worthy and accessible, not only because they are historically significant
- Includes plays that were successfully performed but never before translated and/or never before printed in any language
- Provides practical performance help for amateurs and professionals (directors’ notes, amplified stage directions, pronunciation guide, production histories)
Three full plays and ten scenes, edited and shaped for stand-alone performance:
- Mirele Efros: or, The Jewish Queen Lear by Jacob Gordin, a matriarch’s fierce battle for control of her business, her household, and her dignity.
- Yankl the Blacksmith by David Pinski.
- Yoshke the Musician (The Rented Bridegroom, The Singer of His Sorrow) by Osip Dimov and reworked by Joseph Buloff, a bittersweet fantasy romance with music.
- scenes from drama Uncle Moses by Sholem Asch; immigrant saga Homeless by Jacob Gordin; love story Sappho by Jacob Gordin; brutal “cellar drama” The Carcass by Peretz Hirschbein; symbolist Between Day and Night by Peretz Hirschbein; comic operetta Mishke and Mashke; or, Europeans in America (Mishke and Moshke; or, The Greenhorns) by Joseph Lateiner; strike comedy Khantshe in America by Nahum Rakov; family drama Riverside Drive by Leon Kobrin; comedy The Jackpot (The Two Hundred Thousand, The Big Win) by Sholem Aleichem.
Brief notes put the plays in context of modern western theater and modern Jewish history. The plays are introduced by “Yiddish Theater as Modern Western Theater,” providing parallels and analyses of styles and genres.
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