In ‘Food and Fadwa,’ a Palestinian family has a lot to digest.
Special To The Jewish Week
Food sums up the culture and history of a people. Just ask the Palestinian family in Lameece Issaq and Jacob Kader’s seriocomic new play, “Food and Fadwa,” which opens Off-Broadway in the East Village next week. Even as they struggle with life in the West Bank under the Israeli occupation, the family remains bound together by the food that they prepare and eat together. The groundbreaking production is the first by the Noor Theatre Company, an Arab-American collective sponsored by the New York Theatre Workshop.
How deeply do we have to bury the past to keep it from erupting into the present? In Andrew Rothkin’s “Bubby’s Shadow,” in which the playwright also stars, the spirit of a deceased grandmother reunites a deeply divided Jewish family and restores its connection to Judaism. The play, an earlier version of which ran Off Broadway in 2008, returns starting June 3 at a theater in the West Village.
As they reach maturity, children sometimes feel obliged to pour out their resentment and rage toward their parents, whom they blame for the deficiencies of their childhood. In his vituperative “Letter to My Father,” the Czech Jewish writer Franz Kafka excoriates his father for abusing him both physically and psychologically.
‘Yiddish is my mother language, and a mother is never really dead,” reflected Isaac Bashevis Singer in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1978. Indeed, the mame loshen continues to play a vital role in the cultural life of the city, as one gathers from two overlapping productions running this month — one a translation of a rarely seen Yiddish play, and the other an evening of Yiddish music and poetry.
Hannah Arendt was deadly serious when she coined the term “the banality of evil” to refer to the matter-of-factness with which the Nazis committed genocide. But in the hands of playwright Ken Kaissar, the contemplation of the mass murder of the Jews becomes a springboard for outrageous satire. His play, “A Modest Suggestion,” opens next week in Midtown, and it features Jeff Auer, Bob Greenberg, Ethan Hova, Russell Jordan, Jonathan Marballi and Robert W. Smith.
Even as the Holocaust recedes into the distant past, its effects are as potent as ever. So suggests Rivka Bekerman-Greenberg in her new play, “Eavesdropping on Dreams,” in which a survivor’s toxic trauma is passed along not just to her daughter, but to her granddaughter as well. Produced by the Barefoot Theatre Company, the play is running through mid-May at the Cherry Lane’s Studio Theatre.
Noted young German novelist Daniel Kehlmann is finally tackling Jewishness and the Nazis in a new play.
For the past 15 years — which is to say his entire career — the German novelist Daniel Kehlmann, 37, has not written about Jews. In fact, none of his work — from his first novel, published when he was 22 and still in college, to his fifth, titled “Measuring the World” (2006) and Germany’s best-selling novel in more than two decades — even alluded to Nazis or Hitler.
Is it ever too late to love and forgive? For Sadie Nussbaum, the crusty Jewish nonagenarian at the center of Miriam Kulick’s new one-woman show, “Open Hearts,” summoning up compassion may require every last ounce of her emotional strength.
She saved her people with an incredible feat of daring and determination. Judith of Bethulia’s seduction and beheading of the Assyrian general Holofernes has inspired paintings, films and countless other works of art. Now comes Charles Busch’s cross-dressing romp, “Judith of Bethulia” at the Theater for the New City, in which the biblical heroine, performed by the playwright, becomes a gleeful combination of Sarah Bernhardt, Mae West and a modern Jewish mother. The 10-member cast includes Jennifer Cody, Jennifer van Dyck, Mary Testa, Billy Wheelan and John Wojda.