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Yiddishpiel premieres its new comedy production Yiddishe Gesheftn.com at ZOA House in Tel Aviv on Sunday, immediately after Rosh Hashana. Based on Potash and Perlmutter, a play originally written in English by Montagu Glass, the text has been translated and updated. In line with its modernization, the Yiddish version has also been renamed.
The plot is about two partners, the gullible Abe Potash and the street-smart Mauwruss Perlmutter, who never see eye to eye on anything. The two men operate a failing business in New York's rag trade. Their fortunes pick up dramatically when they employ a young and talented designer.
Spiced with satire, the show stars Yaacov Bodo and Gidi Yagil, who worked together in previous Yiddishpiel productions, and who have an excellent rapport both on and off stage. Other members of the Yiddishpiel ensemble who appear in the show include Monica Vardimon, Helena Yarlova, Andre Keshkar and Israel Treistman. Guest director is Ion Lucian, who previously directed the highly successful Yiddishpiel production of Golden Boys.
The popularity of Yiddish theater is growing as more and more theatergoers who may not speak Yiddish learn that all the productions are accompanied by Hebrew and Russian subtitles.
According to Yiddishpiel founder and director Shmuel Atzmon, many of the immigrants from the former Soviet Union who had little or no contact with their Jewish cultural heritage use Yiddishpiel as one of their resources to make up for previously lost opportunities. Much of the older population from the FSU speak fairly fluent Yiddish and require no translations. For them, Yiddishpiel is a real joy, especially because some of the younger performers are native Russian speakers who have learned not only how to pronounce their lines but, in the course of time, have actually picked up the language and can now participate in Yiddish conversations.
The extent to which Yiddish theater is appreciated can best be ascertained by the full house audiences in venues such as ZOA House, where it performs most frequently, and the Jerusalem Theater, where it also enjoys a huge following. But it also plays to full houses in other parts of the country. The upcoming tour includes Haifa, Ra'anana, Kfar Saba, Ness Ziona, Bat Yam, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Netanya, Holon, Ashdod, Beersheba, Kiryat Haim, Rishon Lezion, Karmiel, Afula, Petah Tikva, Nahariya and Ramat Hasharon, with several returns to Tel Aviv.
In addition to its new production, Yiddishpiel is also touring with The Wooden Bowl, The Cantor from Vilna, The Last Love and How to Be a Jewish Mother.
Tickets are priced between NIS 75 and NIS 150, with discounts in exchange for Isracard points and for people holding Mifal Hapayis membership cards.
For reservations and schedules, call 1-800-444-660.
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