By Carey Purcell
11 Mar 2014
Performances will continue through April 5 at The Chocolate Factory.
Created and directed by TMT artistic director David Herskovits, with original songs by Rebecca Hart and toy theatre created by Kathleen Kennedy Tobin, the four-member cast features Don Castro, James Tigger! Ferguson, Mary Rasmussen and J.H. Smith III.
"The centerpiece of the 2013-2014 season is a new version of the life of 17th Century Jewish philosopher and skeptic, Uriel Acosta. Apostate, believer, lover, teacher — Uriel Acosta is all of them," press notes state. "And he is too much for the Jews of Amsterdam in the 17th century. When they excommunicate him a struggle ensues in the soul of every thinking, feeling being. Uriel challenges us all. Uriel Acosta's story was adapted in different versions by dozens of Yiddish theater troupes all over the world, in the 19th and 20th centuries. The role became a star vehicle for the greatest performers on the Yiddish stage: Goldfadn, Adler, Tomashevsky, they all had 'their' Uriel. Target Margin's production is a collage of many of these different versions, as well historic documents about his life, Yiddish-theater histories and memoirs, and contemporary reflections on apostasy and otherness."
The creative team includes Kaye Voyce (set/costumes), Lenore Doxsee (lights), David Herskovits /Jesse Freedman (sound), Gil Sperling (video) and Aaron Ethan Green (props).
Debra Caplan is dramaturg, Nick Trotta is assistant director/associate dramaturg, and Ann Marie Dorr is production manager. The production stage manager is Olivia O'Brien, with assistant stage manger Nic Adams.
"There is no original version of this story or character," artistic director Herskovits said in a statement. "We are taking from all the different sources we can find to create the most vivid story we can. We aim to honor the enormous Yiddish theater tradition surrounding this figure, and at the same time make something utterly new."
TMT launched a two-year exploration of Yiddish Theater, Beyond the Pale, in 2012, to take a look at domestic drama, philosophical drama, verse drama, avant-garde experimentation, political statement plays and the drama of the shtetl.