Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Theater for the New City to Present New Yiddish Rep's CRAZY MESHUGGA HURRICANE EARTHQUAKE

pixeltracker

This six-character play is the story of an unlikely connection that develops between a middle aged secular Jewish woman and a young Hasidic man.

Theater for the New City to Present New Yiddish Rep's CRAZY MESHUGGA HURRICANE EARTHQUAKE

From January 12 to 19, 2022, Theater for the New City will present the New Yiddish Rep production of "Crazy Meshugga Hurricane Earthquake" by Amy Coleman, directed by David Mandelbaum. This six-character play is the story of an unlikely connection that develops between a middle aged secular Jewish woman and a young Hasidic man struggling with schizophrenia. Hired to be his caretaker, the woman attempts to give him the support he needs, but discovers that her agenda may have more to do with her own needs than his. The play offers important lessons on love and trust.

This play is the first in a two-part series of plays presented by Theater for the New City that deal with identity, schizophrenia and self-empowerment in the Hasidic Jewish communities of New York. The second, playing January 22-30, is "Di Froyen" (The Women) by Melissa Weisz and Malky Goldman, directed by Rachel Botchan. It lifts the veil on the plight of women in abusive relationships, in this case in the Hasidic community. More info, see: https://www.jsnyc.com/season/di_froyen.htm.

In "Crazy Meshugga Hurricane Earthquake," a recently retired music teacher named Lenora Kline is looking for meaning in her life when she answers an ad on Craigslist for a job as a live-in caretaker for Yossi Schwartz, a paranoid schizophrenic young man from a Hasidic background. Because of the stigma of mental illness, Yossi has been isolated from his family and community and has been drifting in and out of hospitals until he meets Lenora. What emerges is a curious relationship between Jews from different worlds. Yossi has an openness of character and a surprising wit that make him easy to love and nurture. He is handsome, intuitive and funny; charming yet hopelessly ill. He is also scarred by having been sexually abused as a youth by a man whom the community inadvertently allows to continue his predations because of their reluctance to involve police or air these problems publicly. Ultimately Lenora discovers that in trying to heal Yossi, she has been actually trying to heal her relationship with her late father, who also suffered from mental illness.

The play admirably portrays the minds of paranoid schizophrenics and how they react to the world. Yossi's situation is actually a window onto the deficiencies of our mental health system, which lacks understanding of the disorders it treats and relies too heavily on drug therapies of-the-day. Patients are ostracized from their families, condemned to psychiatric wards or else locked out on the streets, while social workers are so overworked that they lose empathy. Yossi longs for a deep connection to his family, but his father has twelve other children and his main concern is to marry them off. Any known mental health issue in the family would stigmatize them and diminish the ability to make a suitable match.

Although it is in English the play is peppered with Yiddish phrases and idiomatic expressions.

The actors are Andrew Hardigg (as Yossi), Amy Coleman (as Lenora), Jacob Louchheim, Thomas Morris, Kurt Perry, and Kelly Walters. Set designer is Mark Marcante. Lighting designer is Alexander Bartenieff.

For more information visit: www.newyiddishrep.org


Related Articles View More Off-Off-Broadway Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You