New Yiddish Rep Will Present THE WHORE FROM OHIO by Hanoch Levin
New Yiddish Rep will present "The Whore from Ohio" by Hanoch Levin, Israel's foremost playwright, at Theater for the New City February 19 to 23, performed in Yiddish with projected surtitles. This black comedy, which deals memorably with ultimate questions of fantasy, lust and mortality, is one Levin's most famous plays. It is translated into Yiddish from the original Hebrew by Eli Rosen. Gara Sandler directs.
The play presents an old beggar, running from death, who goes to a whore and spends all his savings, to the horror of his grasping beggar of a son. It is packed with sharp humor on the ultimate absurdity of life and its desires. It will be acted by David Mandelbaum as the old beggar, Eli Rosen as the son and Malky Goldman as the eponymous hooker.
Hanoch Levin was born in Tel Aviv in 1943 and died of cancer in 1999 after winning a reputation as a national treasure in Israel. He wrote "The Whore from Ohio" in 1982 and now it is one of his two best-known plays. (The other is "The Labor of Life," 1989). Levin's 56 plays are more universal than Israeli, characterized by powerful language and a Rabelaisian sense of humor. Sardonic, ironic and absurd, they resonate strongly to Israelis and Jews worldwide. Levin laughs deeply at life through prototypical characters whose attributes--and even the onomatopoetic quality of their names--are original yet familiar. When you stop laughing in a Levin play, you often find you've just seen something extremely sad.
Despite his prominence, Levin is still relatively unknown in the USA. NYR's Artistic Director, David Mandelbaum, considers it an injustice that "the greatest playwright that Israel has produced, in a league with Becket and Pinter in his absurdist works and with Chekhov in his family dramas, is so unknown to the American Jewish community and the American theater community in general."
New Yiddish Rep is presenting a Yiddish adaptation of Levin's other "signature" play, "The Labor of Life," from January 17 to 26 at New Yiddish Rep's Cyrus and Rose Feldman Studio Theater, 315 W. 39 Street, 9th floor. David Mandelbaum, Artistic Director of New Yiddish Rep, is certain that anyone who has seen either play in the original Hebrew will agree that Yiddish lends them a humor and poignancy unique to mame-loshn. He cites Dan Friedman, executive editor of The Forward, who wrote: "[Levin's] friend Viteck Tracz always used to joke that Hanoch didn't write his plays, he just wrote them down in Hebrew from his mother's Yiddish."
In "The Whore from Ohio" an old tramp, who has dreamed all his life about unattainable high-class hookers in America, seeks to give himself a birthday present that will suit his pocket: a visit to a street whore. His son, also a tramp, imagines his father as a secretly wealthy man and dreams of the vast inheritance that will one day be his. His fantasy is strong, but his practical side winces at the hundred shekels the old man is throwing away fruitlessly, since he is impotent. The street whore, far more practical than both of them, is satisfied with the old man's meager savings and relieves him of them in return for an illusion of love. In the end, the fantasy remains the only redeeming force in their miserable lives.
The piece is styled like a lively burlesque; a sort of biblical tale adapted by John Waters for the Three Stooges. The father and son are like Vladimir and Estragon, with a cunning synthesis of sentiment and scatology added.
David Mandelbaum (Producer, Beggar) has been producing and acting in experimental theater in New York for over 35 years, working at La MaMa, Theater For The New City, The Common Basis Theater and numerous others. In 2007, he and Amy Coleman founded the New Yiddish Rep and premiered its first show, his adaptation of the Holocaust classic, "Yosl Rakover Speaks To G-d." This was soon followed by "The Essence: A Yiddish Theater Dim Sum" and "The Big Bupkis: The Complete Gentile's Guide to Yiddish Vaudeville." Under Mandelbaum's leadership, the New Yiddish Rep has presented original films, concerts, performance art, and art exhibitions, and has workshopped and developed a string of significant adaptations of modern classics in Yiddish translation. He directed its Off-Broadway production of "Awake and Sing," appeared in its "Waiting for Godot," "Awake and Sing," "God of Vengeance," "The Whore from Ohio" and :The Labor of Life" and produced "Rhinoceros" and its celebrated production of "Death of a Salesman."
Eli Rosen (Translator, Son) was born and raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, which he left to pursue life, liberty and a law degree. Now a recovering lawyer, he is Managing Director of New Yiddish Rep and translator of obscure tomes. He played Vladimir in New Yiddish Rep's recent Yiddish adaptation of "Waiting for Godot" and acted a solo show there, "A Khazn A Shiker (The Drunk Cantor)." His Yiddish version of "The Labor of Life" will be presented by NYR January 17 to 26.
Malky Goldman (Whore) is an actor and artist currently located in New York City. Originally from Jerusalem, she relocated to the United States to study and graduated from Hunter College with a Degree in Fine Art. She appeared in a Chasidic Horror film, "The Vigil (BoulderLight)," directed by Kieth Thomas, which premiered at TIFF. She appears in the upcoming Netflix series "Unorthodox," the Pearl Gluck film "Castles in the Sky" (co-starring with Lynn Cohen) and in the HBO's "High Maintenance." On stage, she has previously appeared in "Hedda Gabler" and New Yiddish Rep's productions of "Rhinoceros" and "God of Vengeance."
Gera Sandler (Director) is an actor, stage director, and TV personality who for twelve years has been a leading actor in Israel's Yiddishpiel theatre. He graduated from Israel's "Beit Zvi" School of Performing Arts in 1997 and performed at the Gesher Theatre in "Don Juan" by Molar and "The Last Devil" by Isaac Bashevis Singer. At New Yiddish Rep, he has appeared in "Making Stalin Laugh," "Rhinoceros" and "Awake and Sing." He has directed operas, dramatic plays and kids' shows and appeared in over thirty movies and series in Israel, Russia, and Poland including "Jellyfish" (winner of three awards at Cannes) and "A Tale of Love & Darkness," directed by Natalie Portman. He plays the leading part of Mamuka in the popular Israeli TV series "Shnot Ha Shmonim" and is seen in more than fifteen other Israeli TV series including the four-season sitcom "Eighties." He plays Mordecai Schwartz in the Netflix mini-series "Unorthodox." His voiceovers include the character Bloo in the "Foster House for Imaginary Friends" series and Dracula in the Hebrew version of Adam Sandler's cartoon "Hotel Transylvania."
Translation of the projected surtitles is by New Yiddish Rep, as is all the production's design.
New Yiddish Rep (www.newyiddishrep.org) is a developer of a wide array of Yiddish theater-related artistic activities. It offers modern treatments of the Yiddish classics and Yiddish interpretations of modern and post modern masterpieces in intimate venues and with easily readable supertitles. Its productions since its founding in 2008 include Yiddish renditions of "Rhinoceros," "God of Vengeance," "Awake and Sing," "Death of a Salesman" and "Waiting for Godot" as well as an abundance of plays originating in Yiddish. Led by David Mandelbaum and Amy Coleman, its aim is to carry the classical into the present, to develop new Yiddish-inspired works, and to investigate modern approaches to the vast Yiddish theater lexicon.
Artists of New Yiddish Rep are prominent in the Netflix Original mini-series "Unorthodox," which is currently in production in Germany starring Shira Haas ("The Zookeeper's Wife") as a young woman who leaves an arranged marriage in New York and sets out on her own to Berlin. Eli Rosen, the company's managing director who played Vladimir in the troupe's recent Yiddish adaptation of "Waiting for Godot," is translating and consulting the series on Jewish customs. Other company members, including Artistic Director David Mandelbaum, are appearing in supporting parts. The company conducts writing and acting workshops to help develop a future generation of Yiddish actors.
New Yiddish Rep's Yiddish-language production of "The Whore from Ohio" plays February 19 to 23 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. Production schedule is Wed, Th, Fri, Sat at 7:30 and Sat & Sun at 3:00. Tickets are $25 general admission; buy tickets at https://bpt.me/4486159, 800-838-3006.
New Yiddish Rep presents Hanoch Levin's "The Labor of Life" January 17 to 26 at the Cyrus and Rose Feldman Studio Theater, 315 W. 39 Street, 9th floor. The absurdist comedy, originally written in Hebrew, will be performed in Yiddish with projected English surtitles. It is a funny and very sad play of the missed opportunities, compromises and disillusionments demanded by the "labor of life." Originally presented at Israel's HaBima in June, 1989, it stands out among contemporary writings for its sardonic resonance to Israelis and Jews worldwide. Directed by Gera Sandler; performed by Mr. Sandler, Ronit Asheri-Sandler and David Mandelbaum. Complete info: http://www.jsnyc.com/season/labor_life.htm