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News Release

God Of Vengeance
May 2006

The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre
proudly presents

God Of Vengeance
By Sholem Asch
Directed by Bryna Wasserman
Presented in Yiddish with English and French supertitles

June 4 - June 22

“Burn it Asch, Burn it!”

MONTREAL May, 2006 – Don’t miss the close to the 2005-06 season at The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre as the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre presents Sholem Asch’s explosive drama God Of Vengeance, one of the all-time classics of the Yiddish stage.

The play stirred the public’s consciousness from the moment it was published in 1908. Upon reading Asch’s manuscript, the most authoritative figure in the Yiddish literary scene at that time, I.J. Peretz, is purported to have screamed “Burn it Asch, Burn it!”, so controversial was the play’s subject matter.

In God Of Vengeance, Yankel runs a profitable bordello in the basement of his home but longs to climb socially and achieve acceptance in the community. Married to a former prostitute, they have raised a beautiful daughter, Rivkele. The loving father commissions a Torah scroll to serve as a talisman to shield her from evil and as part of her dowry to attract a rabbinical student as a potential husband. But the plans are laid to waste when a rival pimp schemes in an attempt to lure Rivkele to his own bordello. Yankel attempts to make a bargain with God to protect his daughter, but he has built his life of respectability on top of a foundation of wickedness.

The play was performed all over Europe and in several languages, without incident. In New York’s Yiddish Theatres, the part of Yankel was played by such icons as Boris Thomashefsky, David Kessler and Rudolph Schildkraut. But when Schildkraut brought it to Broadway, in English, in 1923, the entire cast was hauled into court and convicted of presenting “an obscene and immoral play.” Many voices were raised in its defense including those of Eugene O’Neil and Konstantin Stanislavsky.

Bryna Wasserman: “I have always been very much aware of the controversies surrounding Asch’s play, including both its subject matter and the questions as to whether the portrayal of its Jewish characters was ‘improper’ or could be deemed anti-Semitic. What concerns me most, however, and the reason why I chose this play for this season, is because God of Vengeance deals clearly with the classic story of the sins of the father being visited upon the children. This theme was at the heart of more than one of the plays we included in the 05-06 season at The Segal Theatre and it is explored profoundly in God Of Vengeance. It makes for great theatre.”

Wasserman is proud to be collaborating with the same production team that produced last year’s celebrated production, Lies My Father Told Me. It includes: Yannik Larivée: Set Designer (Hedda Gabler) James Lavoie: Costume Design ( Shakespeare and Moliere: Love and Laughter - National Arts Center/ Stratford Festival) Jacques-Olivier Dupuis: Lighting Designer (Major Barbara, The Golden Land, Fiddler on the Roof), Rob Denton: Music (Jesus Hopped the A Train, On 2nd Avenue) Amanda Corber: Production Stage Manager ( Fiddler on the Roof, Double Identity, The Golden Land).

88.5 CBC Radio One Presents Sunday-@-the-Saidye

Don’t miss the final installment of this season’s wildly popular program, which is free to the public. This season has been a banner year for the S@tS lecture series, featuring Robert Adams on Cabaret; Ben Barnes on Oscar Wilde and The Importance of Being Earnest; Ibsen scholar, Errol Durbach and A Doll House; a CBC-hosted round table on Everybody’s Welles; My Old Lady playwright, Israel Horovitz; and it will close with Bryna Wasserman and invited guests discussing the political, moral and religious issues in God of Vengeance and the forthcoming Yiddish Theatre production.

Official Corporate Sponsor

Tickets and Media Information

Previews: June 4 1:30 pm
June 5,6,7 8:00 pm

Sunday-@-the-Saidye: June 4, 11 am

Opening Night: June 8, 8pm

Run: June 4-22

Monday-Thursday, 8pm
Saturday, 9:30
Sunday, 7 pm
Matinées: Wednesdays, 1pm / Sundays, 2 pm

BOX OFFICE: (514) 739-7944
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