Photos: Top Swedish Dignitaries Attend American Production of WAITING FOR GODOT

WAITING FOR GODOT starred Michael Wex as Estragon and Shane Baker as Vladimir, along with Allen Lewis Rickman, Luzer Twersky and Nicholas Aaron Jenkins.

By: Nov. 22, 2021
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Stockholm's prestigious Royal Dramatic Theatre commissioned America's Congress for Jewish Culture to present director Moshe Yassur's critically acclaimed 2013 Off-Broadway Yiddish language staging of WAITING FOR GODOT. The production played to three sold out houses November 13th and 14th. Among the attendees at the glittering premiere were Sweden's Minister of Culture, Amanda Lind; and Israel's Ambassador to Sweden, Ziv Nevo Kulman. Kulman subsequently tweeted, "I loved it! It felt as if Beckett was Jewish. Just as when I last saw GODOT in Jaffa in a Hebrew-Arabic production it felt as if it was written about the Middle East. Beckett was a genius, and your production is brilliant! Bravo!"

Take a look at photos below!

Shane Baker's landmark Yiddish translation of Samuel Beckett's existential masterpiece marked the first ever Yiddish language production to appear at Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre.

WAITING FOR GODOT starred Michael Wex as Estragon and Shane Baker as Vladimir, along with Allen Lewis Rickman, Luzer Twersky and Nicholas Aaron Jenkins. The play was performed in Yiddish with Swedish supertitles.

Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's most prestigious daily newspaper with the highest circulation, raved about the production, "Beckett's humor has always seemed to me to have something Jewish about it. WAITING FOR GODOT has finally found its mother tongue!"

Michael Wex is a Canadian performer, novelist, playwright, translator, lecturer, and author of books on language and literature. His book BORN TO KVETCH became a New York Times Bestseller in 2005. Shane Baker appeared Off-Broadway in TEVYE SERVED RAW, Everett Quinton's staging of Charles Ludlam's CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE OR WHEN QUEENS COLLIDE, in his solo show THE BIG BUPKIS! A COMPLETE GENTILE'S GUIDE TO YIDDISH VAUDEVILLE, GOD OF VENGEANCE, THE ADVENTURES OF HERSHELE OSTROPOLYER, and THE MEGILE OF ITZIK MANGER. Allen Lewis Rickman played Velvel in the Coen Brothers' hit film A SERIOUS MAN. TV appearances include "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (as Red Skelton), Barry Levinson's Emmy-winning "You Don't Know Jack," and a recurring role on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." His NY stage credits include Broadway's RELATIVELY SPEAKING and MACK & MABEL at Encores! Luzer Twersky made his Off-Broadway debut in GOD OF VENGEANCE. His films include ONE OF US and FELIX AND MEIRA (Best Actor Award, Torino Film Festival), and he has appeared on TV's "High Maintenance" and "Transparent." Nicholas Aaron Jenkins played Young Lola in KINKY BOOTS on Broadway as well as the national tour. Last week, he once again tackled the role he played in this production of GODOT in 2013 and 2014 Off-Broadway, as well as its subsequent engagement in Enniskillen, Ireland.

This American offering of WAITING FOR GODOT (VARTN AF GODOT) was the first ever Yiddish production at Sweden's premiere dramatic venue, which was founded in 1788 and was the only home that its local backers ever considered for the production. Among the luminaries who marked their professional debuts there are Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, and Ingmar Bergman. Housed in a spectacular Art Nouveau building, the Royal Dramatic Theatre also introduced August Strindberg's late dramatic works.

Yiddish has a long history in Sweden, which has had a significant Jewish population since the 18th century. During World War II, Sweden provided refuge for almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark. After the war, thousands of Eastern European Yiddish speaking Jews arrived in or passed through Sweden, making a significant impact on the country.

Sweden is home to several Jewish and Yiddish cultural organizations, including an active Society for Yiddish (Jiddischsällskapet) and Jewish Culture in Sweden, who were the Swedish producers of this production in partnership with the Royal Dramatic Theatre.

Director Moshe Yassur stated, "GODOT is very much part of the Jewish tradition of waiting. Jews have been waiting for the Messiah for 2,000 years. He is not coming, but they are still waiting." Yassur is a Holocaust survivor whose prominent theater career dates to his prewar childhood in Iasi Romania (the cradle of Yiddish theater).

Founded in 1948, the Congress for Jewish Culture is a secular organization based in New York City dedicated to its longstanding commitment to enriching Yiddish culture worldwide. This spring, the Congress will present the Off-Broadway premiere of the long-running comedy smash THE ESSENCE, which has been playing to sellout crowds for over a decade throughout the Northeast and Europe.

Photo credit: Magnus Swärd

Photos: Top Swedish Dignitaries Attend American Production of WAITING FOR GODOT
MATTIAS ANDERSSON, Moshe Yassur, Shane Baker, AMANDA LIND, Nicholas Aaron Jenkins, Allen Lewis Rickman, Luzer Twersky, MICHAEL WEX, LIZZIE OVED SCHEJA

Photos: Top Swedish Dignitaries Attend American Production of WAITING FOR GODOT
MICHAEL WEX and Shane Baker

Photos: Top Swedish Dignitaries Attend American Production of WAITING FOR GODOT
MICHAEL WEX, Luzer Twersky, Shane Baker, Allen Lewis Rickman


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