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TREASURE Begins in October at Finborough Theatre


In a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, a unique opportunity to see a classic of Yiddish theatre for the first time in the UK - Treasure by David Pinski opens at the Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season on Tuesday, 20 October 2015 (Press Nights: Thursday, 22 October and Friday, 23 October 2015 at 7.30pm).

Tille is the poor gravedigger's daughter, with nothing in the world except a head full of dreams. Things look set to stay that way, until the day her brother returns from the graveyard with a pile of gold coins- and Tille is faced with a choice. She can hand in the money and go back to a life of drudgery, or she can use it to turn the world upside down.

As the village community descends on the cemetery in search of gold, Tille and her family must use their wits to stay one step ahead of those who want their share of the treasure.

A timeless fable of folly and greed that celebrates one woman's ingenuity in the midst of chaos.

Treasure, or Der Oytser, is a comic masterpiece of Yiddish theatre. Written in 1906 and first performed in 1912, it remained popular in the Yiddish repertoire until the 1940s: most notably, Max Reinhardt's production in Germany in 1919, an English-language version on Broadway in 1920, as well as a production staged in the Vilna Ghetto in 1943.

Playwright David Pinski (1872-1959) was a Russian-born playwright and novelist. He was one of Yiddish theatre's most notable dramatists, as well as one of its most prolific. During the course of his lifetime, he wrote over sixty plays including The Last Jew, or The Zvi Family, and The Eternal Jew. He also wrote the novel The House of Noah Edon. Having grown up in a cosmopolitan family in Moscow, Pinski lived in Switzerland, Vienna and Berlin before emigrating to America in 1899, where he lived for fifty years before moving to Israel in 1949. In America, he was an active member of Jewish cultural and political life, and was president of the Jewish National Workers' Alliance from 1920 to 1922, and president of the Jewish Culture Society from 1930 to 1953.

The first professional production in Yiddish theatre occurred in a wine garden in Romania in 1876, and there followed an explosion of playwriting, with a roster of famous actors performing in the Yiddish theatres that were established all over Eastern Europe, as well as in America and the UK, especially in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Well known works first written in Yiddish include The Dybbuk, The Golem and the works of Sholem Aleichem, later immortalised in the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. The influence of Yiddish theatre in 20th century arts was far reaching including such varied names as Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Paul Muni, Danny Kaye, Mel Brooks, Clifford Odets, Harold Clurman, Sidney Lumet, Franz Kafka, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Leonard Nimoy.

Translator and Adaptor Colin Chambers is Emeritus Professor of Drama at Kingston University. Colin was Literary Manager of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1981 to 1997, and has also been a journalist and theatre critic. He is co-author with Richard Nelson of Kenneth's First Play and Tynan (both Royal Shakespeare Company), and he selected and edited for performance Three Farces by John Maddison Morton, which were produced at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. As well as editing the Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre, Colin has written extensively on the theatre including Other Spaces: New Writing and the RSC, Playwrights' Progress (with Michael Prior), The Story of Unity Theatre, Peggy: The Life of Margaret Ramsay, Play Agent (winner of the inaugural Theatre Book Prize), Inside the Royal Shakespeare Company, Here We Stand: Politics, Performers and Performance - Paul Robeson, Isadora Duncan and Charlie Chaplin and Black and Asian Theatre in Britain: A History.

Director Alice Malin previous productions include fiji land (Southwark Playhouse and Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford), Fluxorama (Theatre 503), Freefall: A Double Bill (New Wimbledon Studio), Diggers (Theatre503) In The Garage (Southwark Playhouse), Baggage (Soho Theatre), Loot (Cockpit Theatre), Seven (Invertigo at The George Tavern), The Ones Who Kill Shooting Stars (White Bear Theatre), The Bird Trap (Lost Theatre) and The Fever (Old Fire Station, Oxford). Assistant Direction includes assisting Dominic Dromgoole on Measure for Measure (Shakespeare's Globe) and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare's Globe and Tour), Nancy Meckler on Play Strindberg (Bath Theatre Royal), Laurence Boswell on Intimate Apparel (Bath Theatre Royal), Richard Beecham on Dancing at Lughnasa (Northampton Theatre Royal), Tamara Harvey on Where the Mangrove Grows (Theatre503) and Kate Wasserberg on Roots (Clwyd Theatr Cymru).

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