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November 07, 1980 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-11-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, November 1, 1980 43

The State of theYiddish Theater

By YITZHAK RBI

tends, explaining that the
average citizen can no
longer afford the high price
of a ticket and the other ex-
penses of a night on the
town (like transportation,
baby sitter, etc.).
Mary is rehearsing in

(Copyright 1980, JTA, Inc.)

The state of the Yiddish
theater in Israel is bad, very
bad," says Mary Soreanu,
the noted actress of the Yid-
dish stage. "The main rea-
son is inflation," she con-

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New York for a new Yiddish
musical, "Wish Me Mazel
Tov," which opens this
month in Manhattan's
Town Hall. It will be her
third appearance on
Broadway with actor David
Carey. Mary and David
previously appeared in two
highly successful musicals,
"The Girl From Tel Aviv"
and "Rebecca, the Rabbi's
Daughter."
Mary believes that there
is a place for a Yiddish thea-
ter wherever there is a
Jewish community. Despite
the difficulties facing the
Yiddish theater in Israel,
Mary said that the award-
ing of the Nobel Prize for
literature to Yiddish writer
Isaac Bashevis Singer two
years ago boosted the
prestige of the Yiddish the-
ater. "People realized that
Yiddish is not a dying lan-
guage," she said.
According to Mary,
who came to Israel from
Romania in 1965, there
are about 35 Yiddish ac-
tors in Israel serving a
Yiddish-speaking audi-
ence of 50,000-70,000.
Each year about five
Yiddish shows are pro-
duced and the average
run of each show is two
months. By comparison,
Mary noted, a Yiddish
show in New York sur-
vives about four months.
Later on the show tours
the country for an addi-
tional six to seven
months.
Who comprises the audi-
ence of the Yiddish theater
in America nowadays?
"Well," Mary said, "during
the week they are mostly
senior citizens, but on
weekends one can see many
youngsters in the audience
who come to see a Yiddish
play to search for their
roots. Believe it or not, but
on Wednesdays, when dis-
count tickets are available
for students and others, one
can even see blacks or
Puerto Ricans in the audi-
ence."
For those audiences and
others who do not know
Yiddish, the show provides
an English narration and a
written synopsis of the plot.
Two biographies depict-
ing the lives of two leaders
of Socialist Zionism were
just published in Israel. One

Mortgage Plan
Part of Special
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NEW YORK—American
Jews preparing for aliya
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By pride cometh only con-
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is Shabtai Tevet's biog-
raphy of David Ben-Gurion.
The other is the biography
of Berl Katzenelsori, the
charismatic leader of the
Labor Zionist movement,
written by Prof. Anita
Shapira of Tel Aviv Univer-
sity.
Both books were re-
ceived enthusiastically
by Israeli critics who
pointed out that the two
authors not only suc-
ceeded in rendering the
personal life stories of the
two leaders but also in
skillfully unfolding the
story and history of the
Yishuv and the struggle
for the creation of an in-
dependent Jewish state.
Although Israel is suffer-
ing from an economic de-
pression, and, as a result,
theaters and movie houses
are half-empty, a new thea-
ter opened recently in Tel
Aviv. Its name is "The
Stairs Theater," to indicate
its location, which is a
basement on Dizengoff
Street.
The new theater opened
its doors with Franz Kafka's
"The Penal Colony," star-
ring Asher Tzorfati who is
also the director general of
the new theater.

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