The experimental puppet troupe Wakka Wakka has created Fabrik, scheduled to begin performances Jan. 17 for a limited run through Feb. 17 at Urban Stages.
Taking inspiration from Nordic and Yiddish folktales, Wakka Wakka ensemble members David Arkema, Gabrielle Brechner, Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock have written, designed and directed the piece, which focuses on anti-Nazi activist and Polish businessman Moritz Rabinowitz.
Rabinowitz, according to press materials, was "a successful, immigrant, Norwegian Jew who 'built a factory from a button' only to watch his life be swept away by the Holocaust. Originally from Poland, he immigrated to Norway in 1911 to escape pogroms and persecution. In Haugesund, a small fishing village, he discovered a land rich with opportunity… He eventually built one of the largest clothing empires in the country, with department stores in several cities and his own factory. The only Jews in Haugesend, he and his family were treated as outsiders. Rabinowitz avidly wrote columns for local and national newspapers, expressing his socioeconomic ideas about commerce in Europe and Norway's natural resources. In time, the primary focus of his columns became warnings to his countrymen about the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. His portentous denunciations were ignored by everyone except the Nazis themselves, who considered him 'the leader of the Jewish resistance in Norway' when they invaded in 1940."
Wakka Wakka ensemble members have also composed Fabrik's original score that has been combined with the work of Lars Peter Hagen to incorporate industrial noise, period and folk music. Danny Goldstein serves as directing consultant.
Previous productions from Wakka Wakka include the acclaimed The Death of Little Ibsen, as well as Erik the Amazing and the Shallaballah, The Untold Story of Monkey and Fattie and Skinny Show! Fabrik officially opens at Urban Stages Jan. 23; 3 PM weekend matinee performances begin Jan. 26. Tickets are available by calling (212) 352-5101.
Urban Stages is located in Manhattan at 259 West 30th Street.