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
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
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
Sunday, 7 pm
Matinées: Wednesdays, 1pm / Sundays, 2 pm
BOX OFFICE: (514) 739-7944
5170 Cote St. Catherine Rd.