Kafka’s Rage — Toward His Father

Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Michael Guagno stars as Franz Kafka in “Letters To My Father.”

The Mame Loshen Has Legs

Special To The Jewish Week

‘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. 

Mendy Cahan will perform his “Yiddish Bouquet” next week at Baruch College.

Kill The Jews — Satirically Speaking

Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Scene from “A Modest Suggestion,” a satire of Swiftian proportions about the Holocaust.

The Shoah, Then And Now

Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Lynn Cohen as Rose, a Holocaust survivor, in Rivka Bekerman-Greenberg “Eavesdropping on Dreams.” Francisco Solorzano

Waiting For The Right Holocaust Angle

Noted young German novelist Daniel Kehlmann is finally tackling Jewishness and the Nazis in a new play.

Staff Writer

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.

In “Ghosts in Princeton,” Kehlmann, tells the tale of mathematician Kurt Godel, who the Nazis mistakenly believed was Jewish.

Last Chance For Compassion?

Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Miriam Kulick plays a number of characters, including a 90-year-old, in her one-woman show, “Open Hearts.”

A ‘Sassy’ Jewish Actress, Cured By Globetrotting

Special To The Jewish Week

After a teacher told her she didn’t have the talent to succeed, Sivan Hadari, an American-Israeli actress who now lives in New York, traveled the world to free herself of debilitating self-doubt.

"Sivan Hadari's new one-woman play documents her journeys to the unlikeliest of places."

A Cross-Dressing Judith

Charles Busch reinterprets Judith of Bethulia.

Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Charles Busch as Judith of Bethulia in his gender-bending play.

Stop, Passover Thieves!

Special To The Jewish Week

Given the exuberance of the Jewish Festival of Freedom, along with its emphasis on transmitting the Jewish heritage to the next generation, perhaps no holiday is better suited than Passover to being turned into a children’s musical.

A scene from “Shlemiel Crooks,” a new musical based on Anna Olswanger’s award-winning children’s books.

LIU Students Revive Play About 1991 Crown Heights Violence

Anna Deavere Smith’s ‘Fire in the Mirror’ staged for a new generation.

Special To The Jewish Week

She pioneered a new form of theater by imitating dozens of New Yorkers who played roles in the anti-Jewish riots in Crown Heights. In “Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities,” Anna Deavere Smith brilliantly embodied both black and Jewish subjects, from the Rev. Al Sharpton to Lubavitch Rabbi Shea Hecht.

Anna Devere Smith
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