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December 27, 1991 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-12-27

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

ENTERTAINMENT

To All My Friends:
I will be spending the winter season at the
lovely Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.
You'll find me at the piano on Thursdays
from 8 p.m. till midnight along with the melodies
else you
Gershwin, Berlin and any
of porter,
might like to hear.
The trio is with me on Fridays and Saturdays
forwasd to
from 8 p•rn. till midnight,
and
we
look
in The Townsend's Lobby Lounge

seeing you soon

Best Wishes,

Martin Scot Kosins

P.S. Join its fOr
New Yectr's Eye, too.
There ctre still a few
tables available!

Call 642.--900 For Reservations

One Hundred Townsend Street
Birmingham, Michigan 48009

7.

0 or i h n i=r and .

Join Us For A Special
New Year's Eve

FRENCH CUISINE & BANQUET HALLS

You'll Enjoy Our Authentic French Dining
Traditional and Contemporary

Casual Elegance

543 N. Main Street, River Square, Rochester

0

VICTOR'S

N O

V

I

INN

50 % OFF!

With this coupon

Receive 50% Off a second lunch or dinner
entree of equal or lesser value.

Expires I-I 5 - 92 (Excludes New Year's Eve)

60

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27, 1991

6501390

Enjoy a
special evening .. .
New Year's Eve
at VICTORS!!!

• Special menu
• Live piano music
in dining room

43317 Grand River &
Novi Rd. 349 - 1438

Playwright Shelly Berman
Held 'Supper' Inside For Years

PHIL JACOBS

Managing Editor

S

helley Berman started
"writing" this play 65
years ago. But the 70-
year-old television star and
comedian and writer didn't
actually sit down at his
typewriter until two years
ago.
What resulted was First Is
Supper, a production that
will wrap up its run at the
Jewish Ensemble Theatre on
Dec. 29. The story is not
autobiographical, but in-
stead Mr. Berman based it
on stories told to him by his
mother. Mr. Berman re-
members growing up in a
Chicago flat during the time
of the Depression. It was a
time when the nuclear fami-
ly included bubbie and
zayde; shmaltz was spread
on bread; and one's Jew-
ishness was one's essence,
not one's cultural-
philosophical choice.
Mr. Berman, who grew up
speaking Yiddish and Eng-
lish, kept many of these
memories to himself for most
of his life. He said that the
more he wrote about his
family, the more he loved
them and the more he learn-
ed about them and himself.
This was an interesting
writing project for Mr. Ber-
man, a Grammy Award
winning comedian who is
often away from his Califor-
nia home shooting television
productions. Two years ago,
having never written a play,
he sat down at the
typewriter and gave it a try.
He said one scene just flow-
ed.
He liked the scene, but be-
cause of work commitments
he put the play aside for a
while. In this case, " a
while" was about two years.
When work dropped off, he
went back to the scene. This
time he didn't stop.
"As I'm writing, I like
what I'm seeing," he said.
"It got to the point where I
was writing from 9 to 2, five
hours a day. I couldn't leave
it if I wanted to leave it."
The play is Mr. Berman's
projection of what his
grandparents' lives were
like before he knew them.
He said part of the creative
process he learned during
the play was how to write
with what he called
"freedom."
"You're writing about how
you think things were, based
on stories your mother told

Shelley Berman: Summarizing 65 years.

you and based on your own
personal experiences," he
said. "If you know these
characters intimately, you
can be creative with them.
What I ended up with I hope
is an experience that many
people in the audience can
relate to. It's the immigrant
experience, the family expe-
rience."
He has an emotional high
when he sees an audience
laughing and crying at his
work. Now that the play is
headed for a February off-
Broadway opening, Mr.
Berman is watching careful-
ly to see how it is accepted.

When he feels it's time,
he'll let go: he'll watch his
play and feel the feelings
towards his parents and
grandparents that he had
while growing up. But he
won't write about them
anymore.

"They are so much closer
to me now," he said. "When
I finished writing the play it
was so much harder for me
to leave them."

First Is Supper is directed
by JET's artistic director,
Evelyn Orbach. The produc-
tion ends Dec. 29, with
shows at 2 and 9 p.m. ❑

A Poet's Paradise
Exists In Israel

NECHEMIA MEYERS

Special to The Jewish News

A

merican publishers
consider a poetry book
successful if it sells
2,000 copies; here successful
books of poetry are likely to
sell two or three times that
many copies.
This is because poetry has
always been far more popular
in Israel than in the United
States. Now, with the arrival
of so many poetry-mad Soviet
immigrants, it is likely to
become more popular still.
Because the newcomers
don't yet know enough
Hebrew to read local verse in
the original, special bilingual
poetry evenings are being ar-

ranged for them by "Omanut
La'am," a public body which
subsidizes cultural programs
in outlying areas.

At a recent such evening in
Beersheba, veteran Israeli
poet Aryeh Sivan read his
nature poems in Hebrew,
after which Zvia Kopelman
declaimed them in Russian.
Finally, several immigrant
poets read their own verses —
in the Slavic original, of
course.
Bilingual poetry readings
also take place in Kibbutz
Urim, near Beersheba.
However, the poems in both
languages are written by the
same person, Shulamit
(Lami) Halperin, who, though
born in Missouri, has lived

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