The Arty Semite

A Wedding and a Funeral at Theater for the New City

By Zohar Tirosh-Polk

  • Print
  • Share Share
Jonathan Slaff
Fearing that it will upset their wedding plans, the cousins of Latshek Boobitshek, played by Nikki Iliopoulou (left) and Debra Zane (right), resist the news that his mother has died.

A wedding or a funeral, which is more important? That’s the main question in the upcoming American premiere of “Winter Wedding” by the renowned Israeli playwright, Hanoch Levin, co- translated by David Willinger and Laurel Hessing. The play, opening at Theater for the New City on May 5 and running through May 22, is a dark comedy about the clash between two major life events and the wild family drama that ensues.

“This play is like the Donner Party meets Groucho Marx” said director David Willinger. “It puts on stage characters who I kind of recognize from life, puts them in an extreme vice of circumstances, and then reveals how low they can go. That doesn’t make us hate them; they’re fun.”

“Winter Wedding” begins with a deathbed promise. Latshek Boobishek (Tony Greenleaf), a nebbishy young man, promises his mother he’ll see to it that family will attend her impending funeral, but she manages to die a night before her niece’s wedding. Shratzia (Debra Zane), mother of the bride-to-be and the dying woman’s sister, convinces her clan to run away from Latshek. She believes that this way they won’t have to hear the news and will manage to avoid canceling the wedding, an event they have long planned and saved for (“Four hundred guests, eight hundred roast chickens – in the garbage!”).

Determined to keep his promise to his mother, Latshek chases his family around the world and back. Chaos breaks out on the road as Levin sharply depicts the distance some will go in order to avoid others’ suffering.

Levin’s plays are known for mixing poetic and pedestrian Hebrew to create a powerful, truly unique dramatic language that made Levin Israel’s most prolific and cherished playwright.

Willinger, who also directed Levin’s “Job’s Passion” at Theater for the New City in 2008, said Levin is a “great writer, on a par with Beckett, Ionesco, or Pinter; and he’s a Jew writing about Jews. His 60-something plays in all different styles, draw — like Beckett — on the music-hall and vaudeville, combined with expansive universal stage metaphors for the human’s relationship with the cosmos. I love the way he sneaks the fun into a serious message or vice-versa.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Zohar Tirosh-Polk, Winter Wedding, Theater for the New City, Theater, Laurel Hessing, Hanoch Levin, David Willinger

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.