The Kadimah commemorates centenary of the death of Sholem Aleichem

October 28, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The Kadimah is presenting three shows in Melbourne to commemorate centenary of the death of the famous Yiddish writer, Sholem Aleichem.

Sholem Aleichem: Not Dead Yet! A Tribute to the 100th Yahrzeit of our beloved Yiddish Writer, the show being staged at Elwood College’s Phoenix Theatre this weekend, has notched up a string of firsts.

Doodie and Hillel Ringelblum

Doodie and Hillel Ringelblum

The production is a world-first with vignettes from various celebrated Sholem Aleichem stories, songs and monologues with a narration created by Arnold Zable. Renowned New York Yiddish actor and director Shane Baker has come to Melbourne to perform in the shows and co-direct with Galit Klas. The local cast includes father and son, Doodie and Hillel Ringelblum, who play a father and son in the show.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever performed together,” says Doodie. “Hillel is only ten but he has been performing for years. Not Dead Yet! is also his first major production.

Not Dead Yet! has come together beautifully. It gives a good sense of Sholem Aleichem both as a person and writer as well as the breadth of characters he created. More broadly, it represents the journey from Jews from Eastern Europe.

“Shane Baker is remarkable. He is a world-class performer and director. His acting is exquisite and his Yiddish impeccable.”

Doodie, whose family came from Poland, was reciting Yiddish poetry from the time he was five. His father was principal of the Peretz Sunday School and president of the Sholem Aleichem College.

“Melbourne is one of the few places in the world which is staging living Jewish theatre – including original works – by Yiddish speakers for Yiddish speakers. One of the great things about our production is that it is accessible to people with little or no Yiddish, thanks to the use of.”

Hillel says Not Dead Yet! is a good combination of acting and song. “And it’s really funny!”

Sholem Aleichem, who was one the most admired and prolific of all writers in Yiddish, the thousand-year-old language of Eastern European Jews, was responsible for characters such as Tevye the Dairyman, the basis for Fiddler on the Roof.

Sholem Aleichem was as big a celebrity as Charles Dickens and Mark Twain in his day. When he died in 1916 at the age of 57, his funeral procession through the streets of New York was the biggest ever seen, attracting crowds variously estimated as being between 100,000-250,000.

The local cast also includes Alex DafnerLeon GarfinkelElisa GrayMichelle GrayFreydi MrockiHelen MizrachiHenry NusbaumJosh Reuben, and Tamara Vasilevitsky.

Shane Baker is not Jewish and learned Yiddish as an adult after becoming enthralled with 1930s’ vaudeville-style Yiddish theatre. He’s even written and stars in his own Yiddish language versionof Waiting for Godot. A Kadimah Production in Yiddish and English (with English surtitles) 

2016 has turned out to a Yiddish world tour for Baker who given performances in New York, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Paris, London, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Montreal, Toronto, and now Melbourne. To come are performances in South America and off-Broadway in December-January.

A Kadimah Production in Yiddish and English (with English surtitles)

Tickets: $35-$42.

8pm Saturday 29 October, 2pm & 7pm Sunday 30 October – Phoenix Theatre, Elwood College, 101 Glen Huntly Road, Elwood 


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