Please join me in New York for an informal lecture on the story behind the play "Why We Laugh" by Kira Obolensky and the original cabaret written in the Terezín ghetto, "Laugh with Us!" that inspired it -- and for a drink!
Venue: The Czech Center, 321 East 73rd Street, NY, NY, 10021
Date: May 5, 2011 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
The series of social evenings at the Czech Center is back!
Doh-bree veh-cherr ("Good evening" in Czech) is a series of encounters with outstanding Czech and American professionals from the field of arts and culture.
Join us for informal discussions on current cultural issues, new arts projects and other exciting happenings. Enjoyable ambiance and a glass of wine or beer guaranteed.
May 5, 2011, at 7 pm: Lisa Peschel - Why We Laugh: A Terezin Cabaret
In the World War II Jewish Ghetto at Terezín (in German, Theresienstadt), four young Czech Jews created an escape from the ghetto while never leaving its walls. By setting their cabaret, "Laugh with Us," in postwar Prague--a Prague identical to the one they remembered from the late 1930s--the performers simultaneously returned to the world they missed and expressed their hopes for a postwar future. They also engaged with the ghetto itself: by "looking back" with humor upon their time in Terezín, they converted the most terrifying events of their present into a source of laughter rather than fear.
"Why We Laugh" combines scenes and songs from the original cabaret with new scenes that reflect upon a scholar's attempts to imagine how that original cabaret might have been performed. As the characters in the cabaret look to the future, and a contemporary scholar looks to the past, each confronts the other with difficult questions--why did the Terezín prisoners laugh, and what does that laughter mean to us today, knowing what we know about their history?