FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ShPIeL-Performing Identity and Bunbury Theatre presents:
TEATRON 2021: A Festival of Jewish Theatre. Streaming from June 24th through June 27th, 2021.
CHICAGO and LOUISVILLE – ShPIeL Performing Identity, a theatre/performance incubator and producer based in Chicago and Louisville – in association with Bunbury Theatre, will present TEATRON: A Festival of Jewish Theatre from Thursday, June 24 - Sunday, June 27, 2021 all online.
This theatre and culture festival with roundtable discussions will showcase themed nights of works encompassing identity, social justice relating to Jewish heritage, culture, history and spirituality. The themed sections are • Holocaust Theatre • Women and Spirituality • Black & Jewish Allyship • Di-verse Jewish Comedy. Theatre companies and international artists are part of this curated festival. SCHEDULE BELOW
Performances include Obie Award winner Roger Guenveur Smith (best known for his ongoing collaborations with Spike Lee) in his solo show Otto Frank; playwright Michelle Kholos Brooks and her play Hitler’s Tasters; Kala Ross, winner of the National Irene Ryan Acting Award at the Kennedy Center, in Jump Jim Crow by Chance Parker; and the hauntingly spiritual, yet socially relevant play Mikveh by Israeli playwright Hadar Galron. Roundtables to include, Mr. Guenveur Smith, Ms. Brooks, Ms. Galron and others, to be live streamed.
Due to the pandemic and its strain on our avid theatre-going community, tickets will be Pay What You Can, with a suggested donation of $36 per themed night or $118 suggested for full festival ticket. Any and all donations are tax-deductible since ShPIeL-Performing Arts Identity and Bunbury Theatre are 501(c)3 organizations.
Please be our guest if you can’t make a donation. In the wake of the recent upswing of anti-semitism TEATRON wants this theatrical festival experience to be open to all in solidarity. We must join together in a world that needs bridges to each other, to our diversity, and to creating a transcultural world.
Generous funders: Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and the Fund for the Arts/Louisville
Partnerships: Israel Consulate of the Midwest, Keneseth Israel, Blueprint for Accountability
TEATRON: A Festival of Jewish Theatre - Schedule
All performances will take place online some livestreamed and most roundtables are live.
7:30 pm EDT Thursday, June 24, 2021; Theme: The Holocaust Represented in Theatre and Performance
• Introduction to TEATRON: Festival of Jewish Theatre and the theme of Holocaust Representations;
David Y. Chack, Professor at DePaul University’s Theatre School and Artistic Director of ShPIeL
• 7:40 pm Max & Willy’s Last Laugh by Conor Duffy & Jake Broder based on comedic cabaret at Westerbork Concentration Camp, an excerpt. This incredible true story explores two of the most famous cabaret performers of their time, Max Ehrlich and Willy Rosen, who landed in a concentration camp and had to perform for their lives.
• 7: 55 pm The Last Cyclist by Naomi Patz and directed by Edward Einhorn, based on a play never performed in the Terezin Jewish Ghetto. The New York Times has called Edward’s work "exquisitely ingenious", “dramatically shrewd,” and "almost unbearably funny"; Time Out has called it "challenging, thought-provoking," “mesmerizing,” and “startlingly intense”; and The Village Voice has called it “hilarious, provocative,” and "Inspired absurdist comedy".
• 8:30 pm Hitlers Tasters by Michelle Kholos Brooks directed by Sarah Norris. An original play about the women who tasted Hitler’s food. “Three times a day, every day, a group of young women have the opportunity to die for their country. They are Adolf Hitler's food tasters. And what do girls discuss as they wait to see if they will live through another meal? Like all girls, throughout time, they gossip and dream, they question and dance. They want to love, laugh, and above all, they want to survive.”
2017 Women Playwrights Series, Susan Glaspell Award; Best of the Fringe, The Stage UK; Sold Out Run, Edin-burgh Festival Fringe 2019; Hitler’s Tasters Filmed Stage Version: Must-Watch by the LA Times, The Kilroys, The List 2020
• 10 pm Roundtable live streamed with Michelle Kholos Brooks and David Y. Chack—Register for tickets and you will receive a link to the roundtable closer to the event
7:30 pm EDT Friday, June 25, 2021; Theme: Women and Spirituality
Introduction and Shabbat Candle Lighting (inclusive)
• 7:40 pm From Baghdad to Brooklyn excerpt by Michelle Azar. From Baghdad to Brooklyn is a timely immigration story that follows Michelle Azar on her quest to balance her way from Baghdad, to Brooklyn and beyond. With an angelic voice, deep sentiment and humor, Michelle tells a timely story of a family’s love and dysfunction set against an historical and redemptive background.
• 8:00 pm Woman Before a Glass by Lanie Robertson. Director, Austin Pendleton. Featuring: Judy Rosenblatt. “Woman Before a Glass” tells the story of four pivotal days in the life of the iconic Peggy Guggenheim when she was in her 60s and living in her home - the Palazzo Venier Dei Lione - in Venice. Peggy describes her terrifying experience with the Nazi soldiers who ransacked her hotel room in Marseilles as they attempted, with the compliance of the hotel management, to "round up all Jews." In another scene Peggy, prepares for her televised interview with "Il Presidente" who is honoring her in the hopes of having her bequeath her magnificent collection to Italy. As she rushes to be ready for the meeting, she clarifies her reasons for collecting and preserving the "modern art" that Hitler tried to destroy as "evil, decadent.....and Jewish."
• 8:30 pm Mikveh by Hadar Galron directed by Micah Lewensohn. Since its incredible premier in 2004, there have been 19 Israeli and International productions of the play. Mikveh is about women living in an orthodox community in Israel, their stories and secrets intertwining. Eight women, eight stories and one wave of courage that breaks the closed community’s codes – bringing them all together. The ‘scenery’ and sole location is the Jewish ritual bath – the mikveh – where women come to purify themselves once a month in order to be permitted (once again) physically, to their husbands.
• 10:40 pm Roundtable with Hadar Galron —Register for tickets and you will receive a link to the roundtable closer to the event
June 26, 2021 Theme: Black and Jewish Allyship
Introduction by Professor Baron Kelly at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dr. Kelly is a four-time Fulbright Scholar and a member of the National Theatre Conference. He has traveled extensively as a cultural specialist for the United States Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, teach-ing and lecturing on the theatre in Africa, Europe, and Asia . His teaching of acting has led him to teaching and lecturing residencies in more than a dozen countries on five continents and in 20 American states. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African American Research. Prior to joining the Department of Theatre and Drama at UW-Madison, he was head of acting and director of graduate studies at the University of Louisville.
• 7:40 pm Jump Jim Crow: A Choreopoem written by Chance Parker & directed by Dr. Baron Kelly, featuring Kala Ross. This powerful and heart wrenching piece is about a BLM protester in solitary confinement, examining her place in America’s chain of oppression.
• 8:00 pm Imagining Heschel (excerpt) by Colin Greer directed by David Y. Chack. About the great theologian and civil rights leader Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel — who marched with Dr. King, was instrumental in changing the Catholic Church’s stance towards the Jewish people, and his wrestling with the reverberations from the Holocaust. Colin Greer’s beautifully impressionistic portrayal, shows Heschel insisting on the moral imperatives of social justice and the constant search for wonder, even as the parallels to that history bring us to this moment in time.
• 8:50 pm Otto Frank authored and performed by Roger Guenveur Smith; Obie award-winning actor and writer (Do The Right Thing). “I was invited to perform Rodney King in Amsterdam and it was there that I was able to visit the Anne Frank House. I imagined her father there, after the war, having lost his wife and their two daughters. In silence. And resolve. As my anonymous narrator had pur-sued an impossible conversation with Rodney King, my Otto Frank, the custodian of his daughter's legacy, speaks to her from far beyond her time and his own, interrogating the crisis of our present moment from a not-so-distant past…” Mr. Smith is known for starring in an unprecedented 13 films with Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee, more than any other actor in the American cinema. Smith has also brought important historical figures to cinematic turns in AMERICAN GANGSTER, Frederick Douglass NOW, WHO KILLED Bob Marley?, IN HONOR OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, INSIDE THE CREOLE MAFIA with Mark Broyard, MARSHALL, as NAACP Secretary Walter White, BETTER MUS' COME as Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, and BEHIND THE MOVEMENT as Rosa Parks' husband and comrade Raymond Parks. He also stars as the supporting lead role in Rick Famuyiwa's comedy DOPE.
• 9:50 pm Roundtable livestreamed: Dr. Baron Kelly, Sidney Edwards, Roger Guenveur Smith, Colin Greer, Chance Parker —Register for tickets and you will receive a link to the roundtable closer to the event
Sunday, June 27, 2021 – 2 pm (repeats from Friday and Saturday)
• 2:00 pm Woman Before Glass by Lanie Robertson. Director: Austin Pendleton. Featuring: Judy Rosenblatt
• 2:15 pm Mikveh by Hadar Galron, directed by Micah Lewensohn.
• 5:00 pm Otto Frank authored and performed by Roger Guenveur Smith
No roundtable livestreamed for these repeated performances
—Register for tickets
7:30 pm Theme: Diverse Jewish and Ethnic Humor, “Stand-up and Sit-down”
Michelle Slonim MCs a night of diverse Jewish comedy
Featuring: Raanan Hershberg - a Louisville and national favorite, Erik Angel; Tehran Von Ghasri
—Register for tickets
ABOUT SHPIEL PERFORMING IDENTITY
Founded in 2010, ShPIel is a theatre and performance catalyst, incubator and producer from a Jew-ish root for today’s transcultural world. Some of ShPIel’s recent productions have been THE GREEN BOOK (Chicago, Louisville), and A JEWISH JOKE (Chicago, Louisville, New York City). The name ShPIeL comes from the Yiddish word for “play” - to discover the play in identity and the identity in the play. The ShPieL website will have changes to the TEATRON schedule on its website shpielperformingidentity.org