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November 24, 2010 3:12 pm

New Worlds: A Celebration of I. L. Peretz

avatar by Yudi Lewis

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The national Yiddish theater is back, this time presenting two works of the renowned Yiddish playwright I.L. Peretz. Photo: Folksbiene.

Lights, camera, Yiddish?
Yes! Once again the national Yiddish theater is back, celebrating its 96th year. This time presenting two works of the renowned Yiddish playwright I.L. Peretz, who’s sharp, witty, and deep works, have earned him a spot as one of the top three writers of the Yiddish language.

The first work directed by Matthew “Motl” Didner, titled “Di Tsvey Brider” (“The Two Brothers”), is presented to the diverse crowd of college students, bearded Hasidim, and everyone in between, in the form of choreographed dance gracefully enacted by Matt Reeves, Colette Krogol and Brandon Washington. The story of two brothers whose bond seems unbreakable, two brothers who “share each other’s pain as equally as each other’s joy” only to have that bond shattered, as the older brother falls into the trap of greed and lust. Never have the words “blood sweat and tears” been so chillingly cried.

The performance features an original musical score by the talented Dmitri “Zisl” Slepovich, Ph.D.

The second act titled “Gilgl Fun a Nign” (“The Metamorphosis of a Melody”) is simply put, beautiful. At times haunting in its soul searching intensity, at times joyfully funny, as only Yiddish can be, due to the smashing solo performance by world renowned Yiddish actor Rafael Goldwasser founder of  the Le Théâtre en l’Air/Der LufTeater in Strasbourg. who takes us on a journey through the shtetils of Russia, as we follow a melody used to express a myriad of emotions. Pain, joy, uncertainty, pity, and eventually redemption.

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We come away understanding that a melody, like a pile of bricks can be used for good or bad, it can build a “synagogue, a church, a jail…” just as “letters can be used to write holiness, or heresy.”

The national Yiddish theater has put together another beautiful and important performance sharing the richness that is Yiddish theater.

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