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New Yiddish Rep

Waiting for Godot (New Yiddish Rep)

January 7, 2019

Translator Shane Baker has found excellent Yiddish equivalents for Beckett’s language.  He understands that Yiddish is a minor key tongue full of sadness, quicksilver tone changes, perfect for expressing the constant complaints that fill the libretto of Godot.  Of course, it is Beckett’s language that passes the time with its casually tossed off deep observations of the human condition in the guise of flippant or quasi-philosophical comments. [more]

God of Vengeance

December 31, 2016

Surprisingly, Eleanor Reissa’s production for New Yiddish Rep has made some debatable choices which damage the power of the play. First of all and most obviously, although not a word has been updated, the characters wear contemporary clothing and use modern objects like headphones, a plastic umbrella and platform shoes. Since there are references to opening a horse stable and the sexual mores of 1907 have changed considerably, this is both distracting and confusing. (The word “roubles” has been eliminated for the more innocuous bucks and coins.) [more]

Death of a Salesman in Yiddish

October 19, 2015

Although Arthur Miller grew up in a Jewish family, none of his characters with the exception of the antique dealer in The Price are explicitly Jewish. Yiddish stage star Joseph Buloff sought to correct that when he adapted "Death of a Salesman" as "Toyt fun a Seylsman" and presented the play in Argentina in 1949. In 1951, Miller permitted Buloff to bring the translation to Brooklyn’s Parkway Theatre where it was deemed a great success. Not seen again in New York until now, New Yiddish Rep is giving the Yiddish adaptation its Manhattan premiere in a slightly revised version in which the non-Jewish characters speak in English and the text is projected with English supertitles for a contemporary audience that does not know Yiddish. [more]