A reading of Leon Kobrin’s rediscovered 1912 play Breach of Promise, a darkly comic slice of tenement life in New York City, will be presented July 31 at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
The newly commissioned English translation (from the original Yiddish) by Allen Lewis Rickman, who also directs, will be offered at 7 PM featuring Yelena Shmulenson (Orange is the New Black, Boardwalk Empire), Brian Morvant (Veep, Gotham), Jeremy Lawrence (The Blacklist, ER), Allen Lewis Rickman (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Tevye Served Raw), Jacqueline Sydney (Seven Seconds, Filmic Achievement), Kevin Sebastian (Blue Bloods, Bull), and Sergey Nagorny (Grand Theft Auto V, The Americans).
Kobrin's play follows Katie Tsimbel, an unmarried 28-year-old, who becomes pregnant. At her mother’s urging, she tries to force Bertshik, a Jewish ex-soldier in the Tsar’s army whose fiancée is shortly expected to arrive in America, to marry her by framing him with a Breach of Promise charge.
“It’s about time Leon Kobrin was rediscovered. He was one of the most interesting Yiddish playwrights of his time,” said Rickman in a statement. “And Breach of Promise was a play he was very proud of. It’s a story of simple immigrants trying to adjust to the realities of an alien civilization; the characters are complex, the humor comes out of naturalistic situations, and the whole thing feels like a snapshot of the old Lower East Side. And its protofeminist elements and immigration theme give it a particularly contemporary ring.”
Admission is $15 ($10 for YIVO members and students), and tickets are available by clicking here. The evening is a benefit for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.