PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATRE Presents
A Holiday Celebration of Jewish Stories
Compiled and Directed by
Presenting the great work of Jewish writers including
Saul Bellow, Sholom Aleichem, Grace Paley, Bernard Malamud
Sunday December 9 at 2:00 PM
Tuesday, December 11 at 7:30PM
Please join us for a tea and honey cake reception
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Players: Robert Lesser, Joan Chodorow, Richard Fancy, Jennifer Taub, Orson Bean (Nov 11th only), Ginna Carter, Sharron Shayne & Matt Gottlieb
The modern flowering of secular writing by Jewish authors – stories, novels, poetry and plays – began in the 19th century, as the enlightenment, the haskalah, began to take hold among the Jewish people – and to divide them. The writings were at first primarily in Yiddish; the rich, colorful, colloquial tongue of everyday Jewish life.
In the 19th Century – as the pogroms displaced Jews and disrupted established ways, as the provincialism, poverty and isolation of shtetl life began to transform and fade, and as Jews gained more access to the cultures around them, Jews began to absorb and assimilate into the European world around them . The Jews changed the larger culture, and the larger culture changed the Jews. A distinctly Jewish literature began to form – in Yiddish and in other languages.
But as in all storytelling traditions, the roots of these stories – their plots, rhythms, sounds, characters humors and aspirations – lie far back in time, a time before they begin to be recorded. So we begin with an anonymous folk-tale – told to one of the early Yiddish archivists – one that takes us from the Old Country to the New World, where we hope to discover some thread, some cultural DNA that connects and points us toward the modern Jewish storytellers, many of them now considered pillars of American letters, of American culture.
It is sometimes tempting to think that there is only one story here: a story which began not even 200 years ago, an eventful and varied and remarkably creative story – the modern history of the Jews, as told in these fictions.
But as they say, s’iz an emeyse mayse, this is a true story. ..
— Matt Gottlieb
The program is as follows:
1 – The Jewbird by Bernard Malamud
A bird flies in a window in the Bronx
2 – A Wen by Saul Bellow
An antic, frantic attempt to rekindle an old flame of passion … in the middle of a hurricane in Miami
3 – The Loudest Voice by Grace Paley
A young Jewish girl performs in her school’s Christmas pageant
4 – She Must Marry A Doctor by Sholem Aleichem
A family fights over the choice of a husband for the daughter, and the Matchmaker tries to do his best