Hasidic characters have been getting more screen time, but they are often used to sensationalize ultra-Orthodox encounters with the secular world.
Though they cannot hear or speak, the Israeli actors in Nalaga’at stage full-length, professional performances — the only shows like this in the world. These actors can’t see or hear. Nevertheless, their unique theatrical presentation captivates audiences by blending touch, mime, sign language and music in a show about dreams and disability. “It’s everything good theater actually is and should be and so seldom is nowadays,” says Adina Tal, director of Nalaga’at Center (nalagaat.org.il), an Israeli troupe made up of 11 deaf and blind actors from Tel Aviv-Jaffa. In Hebrew, na lagaat means “please touch.” The only deaf and blind theater troupe in the world, Nalaga’at has also performed in North America and Europe. There are two full-length shows in the repertoire. The actors learn their parts slowly, each paired with a translator who signs instructions into the palms of their hands. “It really, really changed my life being here at Nalaga’at,” says actress Batsheva Ravenseri through interpreter Feige Swirsky. “I got in touch with a lot of interpreters, who support us, and they love us and we love each other.” DOWNLOADS: VIDEO: - NaLagaat HiRes Narration: www.megaupload.com - NaLagaat HiRes No Narration: www.megaupload.com - NaLagaat HiRes Streaming: www.megaupload.com - NaLagaat HiRes Streaming No Narration: www.megaupload.com DOCUMENTS: - NaLagaat HiRes INTRO: www.megaupload.com - NaLagaat HiRes SCRIPT: www.megaupload.com Please credit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the …
Just after Sidney Lumet passed away, I received numerous e-mails from film students who fondly recalled his visits with them at Columbia University. A few remembered the emotional wallop of seeing “The Pawnbroker” for the first time, in my American film history course. Others praised Lumet’s humility and candor after a preview of “Night Falls on Manhattan” in our campus screening room. Lumet was unaffected, from his perennial sweater-over-shirt to his no-nonsense explanation of making movies. He was a breathlessly busy and prolific director, but he found the time to encourage aspiring filmmakers. The students’ e-mails that arrived after he died April 9 of lymphoma at age 86 were a testament to the smarts and the sympathy that rendered him less an auteur than a mensch.
Michael Tilson Thomas’s grandmom had trunks in her basement. A lot of our grandmothers had stuff stacked away. But our grandmoms were not Bessie Thomashefsky. “When I used to go visit my grandmother at her apartment in Hollywood, she had trunks in her basement and that was a special treat,” said Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony and artistic director of Miami Beach’s New World Symphony, which he founded. In her basement, his grandmother “would open up these trunks, and inside them there were various costumes and scripts and photos and all these things that had been part of her life.”
‘A melody lives and dies and it is forgotten,” actor Rafael Goldwaser says early on in a presentation of “A Gilgl fun a Nign” (“The Metamorphosis of a Melody”). “But a melody can be resurrected.”
On April 7, the eve of Passover, Israeli television did something unprecedented: It aired a film in which the entire dialogue was in Yiddish.
It’s a funny thing, the way a young artist’s raw vitality is often forgotten in posterity, obscured by the seemingly tamer, more popularly appealing self that emerged later. Seven decades after “Our Town” was a Broadway hit, for example, almost no one remembers Thornton Wilder as an experimental dramatist, though he once was one. These days, we perceive him through muffling layers of homespun hokeyness.
In 1946, a fictional memoir of a resistance fighter in the Warsaw Ghetto appeared in a Yiddish newspaper in Argentina. Titled “Yosl Rakover Talks to God,” the piece described the destruction of Jewish Warsaw in such sensitive detail that it was translated into a multitude of languages, propelling its Lithuanian-born author, Zvi Kolitz, into the international spotlight.
On a frigid January evening in New York City, Rebecca Joy Fletcher and Stephen Mo Hanan performed their two-person act, “Kleynkunst!: Warsaw’s Brave and Brilliant Yiddish Cabaret,” before a full house at Helen’s Restaurant, Cabaret & Piano Lounge in Chelsea, as part of a five-day-long European cabaret festival called Kabarett Fête.
Filmmaker Dan Katzir is the last person anyone would expect to fall in love with Yiddish.