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Tag : Yiddish Theater

The Lilith Blog

December 19, 2019 by

Maiden, Sorceress and Stepmother on Stage, Yiddish-Style

Image courtesy of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Image courtesy of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

I was a little skeptical when I learned that the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene—the company that brought us the excellent Yiddish “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Hannah Senesh”—was going to present “The Sorceress,” an operetta that was the first formal Yiddish theatrical production in America.  Written in 1878 by Avrom Goldfaden, it centers on an innocent young woman suffering at the hands of a devious stepmother and her cohorts, led by the evil title character, traditionally played by a man, as it is here. 

I suspected it would not be feminist. But, I thought, maybe the director and others who restored the play (a massive effort) and created this version find ways to make demeaning stereotypes more palatable for modern audiences.  

Or did the play (“Di Kishemakherin” in Yiddish) actually already depict strong Jewish women in a powerful and provocative way? Was it feminist in 1878 and is it feminist in 2019?

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September 26, 2018 by

Oh Mama, I’m in Love! •

Oh Mama, I’m in Love! Take a step behind the curtain and enter the world of Yiddish theater with “Oh Mama, I’m in Love! The Story of the Yiddish Stage.” For this self-paced online 25-session course, scholars trace the history of Jewish performance using nearly 1,000 archival objects and documents, including photographs, newly digitized audio clips, posters, advertisements, set and costume designs. Discover the impact Yiddish theater continues to have on popular entertainment today. This is the third course in YIVO’s Shine Online Educational Series. learnonline.yivo.org

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