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New Worlds Theatre Project to Present English Language Premiere of CARCASS, Beg. 9/7

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New Worlds Theatre Project has announced that it will present the English language premiere of Peretz Hirshbein's Yiddish play, Carcass, beginning Saturday, September 7 at 7pm at HERE, 145 Sixth Avenue. The opening night is set for Thursday, September 12.

A singular work that blends a raw, pastoral earthiness with a visceral sensuality, Peretz Hirshbein's 1905 play, Carcass, tells the story of a father's fall from grace and the costs of transgressions not only to himself, but to his family.

Hirshbein originally published Carcass in 1905; it was then published in New York in 1916. The play was first performed by Liebhober and then by the Hirshbein Troupe; it was performed in Hebrew in Israel (then Palestine) in 1908 and in Vienna in 1924.

New Worlds Theatre Project, founded in 2005, is the country's only theatre company dedicated to identifying the best Yiddish plays--from an artistic point of view--and then translating them into English and producing them.

The cast of Carcass includes Clinton Faulkner, David Greenspan, Alvin Keith, Robyn Kerr, and Kathryn Rossetter.

This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE, HERE's curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.

Peretz Hirshbein, born in 1880 to a Russian miller, was instrumental in reviving Yiddish theatre in Russia in 1904 following the lifting of the twenty-one year ban on Yiddish theatre performances. Hirshbein became known as "the Yiddish Maeterlinck" because his plays focus more on mood than plot. From 1908-1910, the theatre troupe he founded in Odessa, Ukraine performed his own plays as well as those of Sholem Asch, David Pinksi, Jacob Gordin, and Sholem Aleichem across imperial Russia. The troupe's high literary standards and high standards of ensemble acting had an important influence on the theatre community in the region and laid much of the groundwork for the Yiddish Art Theatre movement that began shortly after the end of World War I.

After the financial demise of his troupe, Hirshbein traveled in Europe and even visited New York, where, in 1912, he tried to make a living as a farmer in the Catskills. After a brief return to Russia, he made an attempt at forming a Jewish agricultural colony in Argentina. At the onset of World War I, he was en route to New York on a British ship that was sunk by a German cruiser. He was briefly taken captive and then deposited in Brazil, and eventually made his way to his final home in New York.

The simplicity and modesty of a 1918 production of Hirshbein's A Farvorfen Vinkel (A Neglected Nook or A Hidden Corner) made theatrical history in New York where bravura was customary on the Yiddish stage. Together with fellow playwrights David Pinski and H. Leivick, he created Unzer Teater (Our Theater), one of the more innovative and noteworthy Yiddish theaters of the period, in the Bronx in 1925. The group folded after one season due to financial difficulties. Hirshbein wrote a Yiddish-language novel calledRoite Felder (Red Fields) in 1935 and an English language screenplay called Hitler's Madman, which was directed in 1943 by Douglas Sirk. He died in 1948.

Hirshbein's plays include Neveyle (Carcass), Tzvishen Tog Un Nacht/Dammerung(Between Day and Night), Oif Yener Zeit Taikh (On the Other Side of the River), Die Erd (Earth), Tkais Kaf (Contract, a.k.a The Agreement), Oifn Shaidveg (Parting of the Ways), Die Goldene Keyt (The Golden Chain), Die Puste Kretshme (The Haunted Inn), A Farvorfen Vinkel (A Neglected Nook or A Hidden Corner), Griene Felder (Green Fields), Dem Schmids Tekhter (The Smith's Daughters), Navla or Nevila, Where Life Ends, Joel, The Last One, The Infamous, and A Lima Bean.

Paul Takacs is the founding Artistic Director of The Shopand most recently directed the U.S. premiere of Philip Ridley's Tender Napalm at 59E59 Theaters. Ben Brantley of The New York Times called the production "expertly directed." His work has been seen at NYU; The Samuel French New Play Festival; The Red Room, NYC; The Cell Theatre, NYC; The New School for Drama, NYC; Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC; The Theatre Alliance, DC; Spooky Action Theatre, DC; Washington Shakespeare Company, DC; and Theatre of the First Amendment, VA. He has worked on new plays with John Strand, Heather Lynn MacDonald, and Judith Goudsmit to name but a few. He holds a BA in Drama from St. Mary's College of Maryland and an MFA in Directing from the New School for Drama. He has taught at St. Mary's College of Maryland and has served as a teaching artist for Shakespeare Theatre Company as well as the Folger Shakespeare Library and is currently on faculty at the Stella Adler Studio in New York. www.paultakacsdirector.com

The set design for Carcass is by Steven Kemp; costume design is by Amanda Shafran; lighting design is by Dante Olivia Smith; sound design by Jeremy Bloom.

New Worlds Theatre Project is a not for profit theatre company founded in 2005 for the purpose of restoring a voice and dignity to an extraordinary legacy of eastern European Jewish culture. We make these plays accessible to diverse contemporary artists and audiences by crafting modern English translations/adaptations that explore the plays through a contemporary lens while remaining faithful to the original texts in spirit, message and texture. In presenting these plays in modern English for the first time, our goals are to show the theatre community how well these plays have stood the test of time and to see them performed in local languages on stages all over the world, alongside plays from other cultural legacies, for generations to come.

Ellen Perecman, founder of New Worlds Theatre Project, is its Producing Artistic Director, Development Department, resident translator, and Production Manager. A native speaker of Yiddish she began her acting career in her home town of New Haven as a member of the theatre company at Ezra Stiles College at Yale while she was a student at a local public high school. She went on to study acting at Sarah Lawrence College. Her teachers there, Julie Bovasso and John Braswell, among others, were all affiliated with LaMaMa in NYC. Ellen graduated from Sara Lawrence in 1975 with a BA in Liberal Arts and continued on to graduate school in Linguistics, earning a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center CUNY in 1980. In her first professional career, she conducted clinical research, wrote and lectured on how the brain processes language, including work on the cognitive sequelae of HIV infection at the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1988. During that period she resumed her acting training with Julie Bovasso in NYC. After Julie's death and a career change that took her to the Social Science Research Council as a Program Director, she began studying with Vivian Matalon.

Carcass performs Thursday through Saturday and Monday at 7pm, with a Sunday matinee at 2pm, at HERE, 145 Sixth Avenue, entrance on Dominick Street, one block south of Spring Street. There will be an added performance on Wednesday, September 11 at 7pm; there will be no performance on Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14. Tickets are $18 and may be purchased at Ovationtix or at www.here.org or by phoning 212 352-3101. (The HERE box office opens at 5pm on performance days.) For more information about Carcass and New Worlds Theatre Project, visit www.newworldsproject.org.

Pictured: David Greenspan and Alvin Keith. Photo by Louis Zweibel.


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