Gluckel of Hameln will slip away from La MaMa E.T.C. Feb. 13, after adding that performance and one Feb. 12 to its run. The performance piece based on Gluckel's memoir, one of the earliest pieces of writing by a woman in the Yiddish language, has been staged by Great Small Works, in their blend of award-winning puppetry, avant-garde theatre and folklore. Performer puppeteer Jenny Romaine directs. The original run was set for Jan. 20-Feb. 6.
Gluckel's writings detail with both humor and horror the day-to day life of a widowed mother of 12 in 17th Century Germany. Her memoirs are part Talmudic interpretation, part news flash, part economic theory and part medieval Jewish legend. Gluckel of Hameln is told to the 20th Century audience in the form of Banklsang, a traditional form of theatre where a singer stood on a bench beside a giant painting and sang current events to the largely illiterate people.
Gluckel was conceived and created by Romaine, Adrienne Cooper, one of the top interpreters of Yiddish music in America, and composer Frank London of The Klezmatics. London and Cooper collaborated on the score, which includes traditional ballad forms, German Jewish liturgical modes, Yiddish "Dance of Death" music, the experimental collage music of Kurt Schwitters and the stylings of the Comedian Harmonists (subject of 1999's Broadway flop, Band From Berlin).
Tickets are $20-$15 and available by calling (212) 254-6468. La MaMa E.T.C. is located at 74A East 4th Street and on the web at http://www.LaMaMa.org.
Founded in 1995, Great Small Works won an OBIE grant and received an UNIMA-USA Citation for excellence in puppetry. Great Small Works members are John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Romaine, Roberto Rossi and Mark Sussman. -- By Christine Ehren