July 27 Sat 8 p.m. @mon ami
Di Megile fun Vaymar
The Book of Esther for 21st-century Weimar
Admission: 20 € / 11 €
>> Tickets online

In his Megile Lider, the great Yiddish poet Itzik Manger (1901-1969) fused biblical narratives and the tradition of Weimar Classicism to create a wild and dramatic retelling of the Book of Esther. Manger’s masterpiece serves as the basis for the present project: a contemporary purimshpil created by Alan Bern and a team of international artists. This large-scale YSW production blends traditional Yiddish genres with the creative spirit of the 1920s and 30s. Manger’s original work – a masterpiece of Yiddish poetry and theater that transcends all shtetl romanticism – is a modernist version of the biblical Purim story: a scathingly humorous, free reinterpretation that also functions as a socio-critical commentary, in which tailor’s apprentices unionize and Esther critically reflects on sexual availability. As late as 1936, the Berlin Jewish Cultural Association planned to set the work to music and produce it – a plan nullified by the increasingly aggressive Nazi policies targeting Jewish cultural institutions.
Now, almost a century later, composer Alan Bern, together with a group of outstanding contemporary artists, has brought to life the immense dramatic potential inherent in Manger’s work. The megile (Yiddish and Hebrew for “scroll” – a biblical book associated with a particular holiday; in this case, Purim) now appears on the stage in a 21st-century guise. The annual staging of a purimshpil as a piece of dramatic social criticism has been a tradition in Jewish communities for centuries. The Book of Esther is thus a perfect traditional medium for the artistic reinterpretation of an ancient text. Prepare to be swept away by an all-star cast of Yiddish artists in a mesmerizing evening featuring the dramatic re-creation of a historic gem the like of which has never been seen before – the newest link in a centuries-old chain of purimshpiln.

Line up:

Concept & music: Alan Bern
texts: Itzik Manger & Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, adapted by Yuri Vedenyapin & Alan Bern

Directing & design: Alan Bern (USA/D) /// Miriam Camerini (IT/IL) /// Gregory Corbino (USA) /// Eyal Davidovitch (IL/D) /// Maren-Mechthild Meyer-Wünsch (D) ///Alix-Trayne Neuberg (D) /// Ilana Reynolds (USA/D) /// Yuri Vedenyapin (RU/CAN) /// Sayumi Yoshida (JPN/D)

Singers & actors: Mendy Cahan (IL) /// Efim Chorny (MD) /// Miléna Kartowski-Aïach (F) /// Sveta Kundish (IL/UKR/D) /// Yuri Vedenyapin (RU/CAN) /// Sayumi Yoshida (JPN/D)

Musicians: Alan Bern (USA/D) - director, piano, accordion /// Christian Dawid (D) - reeds, flute, low brass /// Yulia Kabakova (RU) - cello, bass /// Mark Kovnatskiy (D/RU) - violin /// Paul Brody (USA) - trumpet /// Nora Thiele (D) - percussion /// Suzanna Ghergus (MD) - correpetition, rehearsal piano

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