The Dybbuk Is Now Adult Puppet Play, Making NYC Premiere, Feb. 19-22

News   The Dybbuk Is Now Adult Puppet Play, Making NYC Premiere, Feb. 19-22 Between Two Worlds/The Dybbuk, an award winning adult puppet theatre adaptation of what many call the most famous play in Yiddish theatre, will make its New York premiere with a limited engagement Feb. 19-22 at The Center for Jewish History.
Rabbi Azriel comfortts Leah on the apparent loss of her lover Chonnon
Rabbi Azriel comfortts Leah on the apparent loss of her lover Chonnon

The show, a co-production of Tears of Joy Theatre and Mark Levenson, is a new adaptation of S. Ansky's 1920 classic, The Dybbuk, the most often-performed play in the Jewish theatre. Set in a small, 19th-century Polish village, "it combines a love story with supernatural suspense and courtroom drama to tell the story of a woman possessed by the spirit of her dead lover," according to production notes. "When he refuses to leave her, a heavenly court must be convened and an exorcism attempted."

This production is the first to use puppets and masked actors to weave together the reality and fantasy of the classic folk tale.

Co-sponsored by the Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History, the work was honored with the UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence in Puppetry, an award established by Jim Henson and considered the nation's highest honor for adult puppet theatre.

The work is staged using an adaptation of Japanese Bunraku theatre, in which visible puppeteers manipulate their puppets on a full stage. "The central, visual metaphor for the play is the puppeteers hovering over and controlling their puppets, just as the spirits and ghosts of the story hover over and control the human characters," according to notes. "The production includes an original score ranging from klezmer to cantorial produced by Jack Falk of the Hungarian-based band Di Naye Kapelye."

Directed by Reg Bradley, Between Two Worlds/The Dybbuk was adapted by Mark Levenson from the translation by S. Morris Engel with an original score written and performed by Jack Falk and Leroy Critcher, with Andrew Ehrlich on violin and Samuel Falk on cello. Lighting design is by Lance Woolen and Sam Kusnetz with set design by Mary Robinette Kowal and Christopher L. Harris, character and costume design by Mary de la Salandra, character construction by Fred Riley and Lance Woolen, character painting by Mary Robinette Kowal. The play is performed by Nancy Aldrich, Kris Bluett, Brian Keith and Lance Woolen. The 80-minute Between Two Worlds/The Dybbuk will play 8 PM Feb. 19 and 21 and 3 PM Feb. 22 at the Center for Jewish History's Leo and Julia Forchheimer Auditorium, 15 West 16th Street, in Manhattan.

Tickets are $22, with $18 tickets for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more. For information, call, the CJH Box Office at (917) 606-8200.