Why We Laugh: A Terezín Cabaret
Photo of Elly Bernstein-Porges courtesy of the Prokeš family, photo of Elise Langer by Angela Andrist
In June of 2011, Step in Time Theater will take "Why We Laugh" -- an original adaptation of "Laugh with Us," a cabaret written in the Terezín Ghetto by Dr. Felix Prokeš, Vítězslav "Pidla" Horpatzky, Pavel Weisskopf, and Pavel Stránský, by Kira Obolensky -- to the Czech Republic.
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Informace v češtině: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/pesc0029/lisapeschel/proc-se-smejeme.html
If you would like to become a sponsor of "Why We Laugh," please see our fundraising website: http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Why-We-Laugh
For information on our >> benefit performances << in St. Paul (Thursday, June 2) and Minneapolis (Sunday, June 5), please see http://blog.lib.umn.edu/pesc0029/lisapeschel/benefit-performances-of-why-we-laugh.html
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Step in Time Theater (founding members: Kira Obolensky, Hayley Finn, Craig Harris and Lisa Peschel) thanks Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council and the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis for their support of a five-day workshop of "Why We Laugh" in December 2010.
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?
PERFORMANCES in the CZECH REPUBLIC:
TEREZÍN: The Rafael Schächter Institute for the Arts and Humanities
For a full schedule please see
§ WORLD PREMIERE OF "WHY WE LAUGH" §
sponsored by the Defiant Requiem Foundation
RESERVATIONS FOR BOTH JUNE 15 PERFORMANCE ARE CLOSED.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at 3 pm and 7:30 pm
The attic theater in the Magdeburg barracks
204 Tyršova Steet, Terezín, Czech Republic
In English with Czech supertitles
Bus transportation from Prague provided upon request.
By e-mail: email@example.com
By phone: contact Lisa Peschel at 857 233 6581 in the USA, and at +420 608 13 41 66 in Europe
PRAGUE: The Nine Gates Festival of Czech-German-Jewish Culture
RESERVATIONS FOR THE JUNE 18 PERFORMANCE ARE CLOSED.
Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 7 pm
Theater "Divadlo pod Palmovkou"
Zenklova 34, Prague, Czech Republic
In English with Czech supertitles
Information available at http://www.9bran.cz/index_eng.html
THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM
Kira Obolensky (playwright) is a Guggenheim Fellow and has also received fellowships and grants from the Henson Foundation, the NEA and Irvine Foundations, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Jerome Foundation. New works include Cabinet of Wonder: An Impossible Story, which recently ran at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis (also produced by Gas and Electric Arts, Philadelphia), Raskol (commissioned and produced by Ten Thousand Things Theatre and featured on several critics' end-of-year lists), and Modern House, finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburne Prize.
Lisa Peschel (dramaturg, translator) has been researching theatrical performance in the Terezín ghetto since 1998. In 2008 she published a bilingual Czech-German edition of eleven plays written in the ghetto that came to light during her research (the English-language edition is forthcoming in summer 2011). Currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard, she is preparing a study of Czech, German and Zionist cabarets in the ghetto. She holds a PhD in theater historiography from the University of Minnesota.
Hayley Finn (director) is the Resident Director and Lab Producer at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. She has directed and developed new work at the Walker Art Center, the Public Theater, the Cherry Lane Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, South Coast Repertory, the Kitchen, and the Vineyard Theatre. She has received the Ruth Easton Directing Fellowship, the Drama League Director's Fellowship, and the TCG New Generations Future Leader Grant.
Craig Harris (composer and music director) has created works for concert performance, music theater and performance art, dance, video, multimedia and art installation. His electro-acoustic work, The Hill Has Something to Say, commissioned by soprano Renée Fleming, premiered in 2000 at Lincoln Center. Harris' multimedia oratorio Five Books - First Series was commissioned and produced by the Sabes JCC Center for Jewish Arts and Humanities in 2008. He has been awarded grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Hanson Institute for American Music, and received his Ph.D from Eastman School of Music.
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