Yiddish Theatre Forum [YTF]
Joel Berkowitz, Editor 
Vol. 04.002

Date: 16 May 2005
From: Ellen Perecman  
Subject: Diaspora Drama Group: Hirshbein's Neveyle and Staged Reading Series

Long before The Pillowman and Doubt, Yiddish playwrights were already
shocking audiences with blood and guts and religious strife.  Now, for the
first time, serious Yiddish dramatic literature will be accessible to
audiences beyond the Yiddish-speaking community.

From June 9-26, Diaspora Drama Group is presenting an Equity-approved
showcase production of the powerful play Carcass by Peretz Hirshbein on
Thursdays to Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm.  In this unflinching
family drama adapted and translated from the original Yiddish by Mark
Altman and Ellen Perecman, Hirshbein uses bold strokes and brash colors to
bring to bear his signature humanity and empathy on a Jewish underclass
that is rarely portrayed.  The non-traditional cast includes David Elyha,
Valentina Quinn, David Raine, Nicole Raphael, Jacqueline Sydney, and
Natasha Williams.  The play is directed by Mahayana Landowne, with sets and
lighting by David Birn.

In addition, DDG will introduce audiences to the wide range of genres
represented by Yiddish plays in a Tuesday Night Staged Reading Series.  The
first Staged Reading on Tuesday June 7 will capture the last words of a man
about to die at the hands of a genocidal regime in "Yosl Rakover Speaks to
God" by Zvi Kolitz.  The reading is based on a fictitious newspaper article
demonstrating what has been described as "unequaled in Holocaust
literature" in its "courageous determination to know when [God] .again
[will] reveal Your countenance."  "Yosl Rakover." will be directed and
performed by Tony Award- winning director Vivian Matalon, a member of the
DDG Artistic Advisory Board.  The reading series will continue on Sundays
at 6 pm from June 12-26 with: (1) three short plays by I.L. Peretz:
Champagne, The Afterlife, and A Night in the Graveyard, directed by Mark
Altman on June 12; (2) Under the Cross by I. D. Berkowitz, directed by
André Kirchner Dion, winner of the 2004 Jean Dalrymple Award for Best
Director; and (3) the original Yiddish version of Carcass -Neveyle-by
Peretz Hirshbein, directed by Mark Altman.  All performances will be at the
Common Basis Theatre at 750 Eighth Avenue.  Tickets for Carcass are $15;
there is a suggested donation of $10 for the Staged Readings.  All tickets
are available by calling 212/868-4444 or online at www.smarttix.com.

DDG founders Ellen Perecman (Executive Director), Mark Altman (Artistic
Director-and former Associate Artistic Director of the Folksbiene Yiddish
Theatre) and David Mandelbaum (Managing Director) are actors and native
Yiddish speakers who met while performing in Yiddish at the Folksbiene.
They shared the concern that there were no theaters in New York presenting
modern English translations of serious Yiddish dramatic literature. They
set to work translating their first play in January of this year. Impressed
by their work, Gordon Edelstein, Artistic Director of the Long Wharf
Theatre in New Haven, signed onto the Advisory Board.  The new Diaspora
Drama Group (DDG) will present English translations of six classic Yiddish
plays they have adapted for modern audiences.

The mission of the Diaspora Drama Group is to present English translations
and adaptations of serious Yiddish classics all but lost to the world. In
making these plays accessible to contemporary artists, we hope to build new
audiences for Yiddish dramatic literature and give Yiddish playwrights the
opportunity to be judged on the world stage.

End of Yiddish Theatre Forum 04.002

Yiddish Theatre Forum

Joel Berkowitz, Editor

Leonard Prager, Senior Adviser

       Editorial Board

Zachary Baker            Barbara Henry
Miroslawa Bulat        David Mazower
Avrom Greenbaum        Nina Warnke
          Seth Wolitz

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