Untitled Theater Co #61's Fest Of Jewish Theater & Ideas Runs 5/20-6/14 In NYC
Untitled Theater Co. #61 will present a Festival of Jewish Theater & Ideas May 20th through June 14th. The Festival, which will include production by theater companies from around the US & Canada, will frame the Association for Jewish Theatre - International Conference (June 6-10), which will be hosted by Untitled Theater Co. #61, Artistic Director Edward Einhorn. This international conference of Jewish theater professionals is held annually in a different city.
Untitled Theater Company #61 explores the connection between our "Theater of Ideas" & Jewish theater. The festival spans a wide variety of genres & styles, including documentary theatre, puppet theatre, adaptations, commedia del'arte, Yiddish theatre, Israeli theatre, midrash, cabaret & burlesque. Subjects include Emma Goldman, Einstein, Freud, hematology, biblical characters, Tel Aviv, atheism, orthodoxy, belief, Jewish legends, Israeli war, politics & the portrayal of Jews on the 19th Century stage. It includes nine World Premieres, an English-Language Premiere of a Sholem Aleichem play for Aleichem's 150th birthday & the New York Premiere of noted Israeli playwright Motti Lerner. Represented are theatre companies from Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Conover, Wisconsin, Kalamazoo, New York City & Toronto, Canada.
The Burning Bush, by Tracey Erin Smith & directed by Anita La Selva, comes from Burning Bush Productions, in Toronto, Canada. Yentl meets Showgirls in this award winning one-woman traveling spiritual road show, in which a rabbinical student teams up with exotic dancers to spread religion in this new version of an old-time revival. The piece was the Critics Pick in Back Stage, Audience Choice Award in Frigid NYC & Best of the Toronto Fringe Festival. Burning Bush Productions has produced award-winning theatre in New York City & across Canada.
Cities of Light, created by Rebecca Joy Fletcher & directed by John Richard Thompson, is presented by Open Hart Productions & is a World Premiere. Light & dark in 1930's Berlin, Yiddish Warsaw, Paris & Tel Aviv, with blinding lights, brazen comedy, cabarets of yearning & bite. An astounding era; a time of Jewish artists on the move. No need to brush up on your languages; these songs are mostly in English.
The Dig: Death, Genesis & the Double Helix by Stacie Chaiken & produced by What's the Story? comes from Los Angeles & is also a World Premiere. An American archaeologist is summoned to a dig in the ancient Arab-Hebrew town of Jaffa. They've found something big; something that could change everything & she's the only one who can tell them what it is. And her mother just died. And there's a lizard in her bathtub. The Middle East. Matriarchs. Cruelty. It's a comedy. What's the Story? is in residence at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles.
Doctors Jane & Alexander written & directed by Edward Einhorn with Music by Alexander S. Wiener & Henry Akona, is produced by Untitled Theater Co. #61, from New York City & is a World Premiere. Using found, fabricated, and occasionally finagled text, the playwright explores the life of his grandfather Alexander S. Wiener, the co-discoverer of the Rh factor in blood, through interviews with his mother, a psychologist who recently retired due to a debilitating stroke. An examination of art, science, ambition & achievement, told with humor & song.
Emma, by Howard Zinn, is directed by Martina Plag & is from stadium-praxis in Philadelphia. This New York Premiere, toy-theatre adaptation uses wit & humor to illuminate history from below. Through innovative storytelling & theatrical devices everyday objects transform to reveal & celebrate the life of the remarkable "Emma" Goldman; the anarchist, feminist & free-spirited thinker who was exiled from the United States because of her outspoken views. staium-praxis creates puppet artistry for adult audiences, to address contemporary issues & advocate social change & awareness. We approach the puppet as metaphor.
Hard Love is by Motti Lerner & directed by Susan Reid & is presented by Genesis Stage in Atlanta. In this New York Premiere, a fiercely romantic drama, Hannah & Zvi are reunited after divorcing twenty years earlier. Raised in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim, the couple ended their marriage when Zvi turned his back on Judaism & Hannah did not. Now the teenage children from their second marriages have become romantically involved, forcing Hannah & Zvi back into each others' lives. This is the first-ever full staging in New York of the work of noted Israeli playwright Motti Lerner.
The Jewbird is created by the Northwoods Company from Conover, Wisconsin & is based on the story by Bernard Malamud. Directed by Annie Levy, this modern fable finds an unexpected visitor flying through the fifth floor, Lower East Side apartment window of Harry & Edie Cohen & their young son Maurie. The small, scrawny bird plops down on the kitchen table in the middle of dinner & begins to speak. What follows exposes the family's uneasy tension between Jewish identities, past & present.
Jolly Good Fellows by Steve Feffer & Tucker Refferty & directed by Mark Liermann, is from Whole Art Theater, in Kalamazoo, Michigan & is a World Premiere. The play is a dark comedy about two immigrant actors from New York in the 1890's, who make their living performing a stereotypical "Jew" & "Irishman" in the grotesque styles of the variety stage. They enter into a contract of convenience to keep up with the changing times, despite the personal costs of such performances. Songs & sketches from the period are included.
Laughing Fools Laughing at the Speed of Light, written, illustrated & performed by Flash Rosenberg & Village of Fools, adapted, directed & performed by Stephen Ringold & the Grand Falloons. From stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Flash Rosenberg & Stephen Ringold mingle their two distinct shows into one tasty evening. By the same unlikely logic that landed smoked fish in a bagel, Ringold's vaudeville puppet theater Village of Fools will suddenly be served in the middle of Rosenberg's comic slide romp Laughing at the Speed of Light, to create a posh nosh & frolic of Jewish culture.
The Legacy Project: Echoes is presented by the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company of New York & actress/vocalist Bente Kahan. An evening of dance, theater & live music incorporating the best of the artists' individual repertoires, their collaborative piece Silent Echoes & featuring the World Premiere of Tikkun with a commissioned score by renowned jazz & Klezmer musician Greg Wall.
Mentshn by Sholem Aleichem is translated by Ellen Perecman & Yermiyahu Ahron Taub & adapted by Ellen Perecman & Clay McLeod Chapman. Directed by Marc Geller & presented by New Worlds Theatre Project in New York, this is the English-Language Premiere. Jobs are hard to come by, so Madame Gold's servants have limited options. To keep their jobs, they have to be willing to maintain the status quo by relinquishing their self-respect & free will. But how much abuse can they be expected to tolerate? Servants are people too, aren't they?
The Most Radiant Beauty written & directed by Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil is from Evolve Company in New York & is another World Premiere. God said "Let there be light." Einstein showed us what it could do. In this multimedia collage, puppeteers Khordoc & Weil use found text to explore Einstein, Genesis, the Atomic Bomb & the life-altering power of knowledge. Evolve Company has been playing with puppets very seriously since 1996 & were given the honor of creating the World Premiere production of Motormorphosis, a play by former Czech President Václav Havel, as part of UTC #61's Havel Festival.
Rat Bastards by Julia Pearlstein & Directed by Eureka at Dixon Place in New York, is presented by Theater THE, Associate Producer at Dixon Place. Venice, 1630: first it was the Jews, now the Muslims are moving in & they're threatening to interbreed! If the Inquisition won't stop them, Arlecchino will. When plague breaks out, holy hell breaks loose. A new Commedia on an old theme - because some things never change.
Scenes from a Misunderstanding by Carey Harrison & directed by Henry Akona, is from WalkingShadow in New York & is a World Premiere. The simmering differences between two professors come to a head: has one of them delayed replying to a letter on the subject of religion, or did the original letter-writer delay posting it? What would such delays signify? From humble beginnings, titanic quarrels are born - especially when the aggravated parties are Sigmund Freud & Carl Jung. This one-act is performed with Most Radiant Beauty.
10 Imaginings of Sarai & Hagar by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer with music by Juliet I. Spitzer & directed by Deborah Baer-Mozes, is a World Premiere, presented by Theatre Ariel in Philadelphia. A theatrical interpretation in ten scenes ("imaginings"), it is the story of Sarah & Hagar, mothers of two great nations & takes us on a journey through their complex relationship, their man & their sons, exploring themes that continue to take Center Stage in the world today.
To Pay The Price by Peter Adrian-Cohen & Directed by Robert Kalfin, comes to the Festival from Theatre Or, in Durham, North Carolina. This World Premiere, based on the life of Yoni Netanyahu, killed in action at age 30, illuminates the toll to a nation in a never-ending war. Theatre Or ("or" means "light" in Hebrew) is a theatre company developing a niche for producing American premieres of Israeli plays.
Golem Stories written & directed by Edward Einhorn, is a retelling of the legend of a clay man in 16th Century Prague. Rabbi Loew creates a Golem to defend the Jews, but this Golem seems more interested in listening to the Rebbetsin's stories & falling in love with the Rabbi's daughter. Is he the reincarnated spirit of her murdered lover? Or does his childlike façade hide the face of a demon?
Pangs of the Messiah by Motti Lerner, is set in 2012, amidst the signing of a peace treaty between Israel & the Palestinians. This apocalyptic, yet fiercely humane drama, focuses on eight Jewish, West Bank settlers pitted against an Israel they feel has betrayed them.
Playwright's Forum Various playwrights & directors will present seven minute excerpts of plays by playwrights who are members of the Association of Jewish Theater.
DATES: May 20th - June 14th
TICKETS: $15 - $25