TNC presents a new Yiddish representative in DI FROYEN “(THE WOMEN) in January

From January 22 to 30, Theater for the New City will present the New Yiddish Rep’s production of “Di Froyen” (Women), based on the play “Women’s Minyan” by Naomi Ragen, adapted for the Yiddish Rep by Melissa Weisz and Malky goldman. The director is Rachel Botchan. The play is a one-act drama about an abused Orthodox Jewish wife who is kept apart from her children.

“Di Froyen” is the second in a two-part series of plays presented by Theater for the New City that deal with identity, schizophrenia and empowerment in New York’s strict Orthodox Jewish communities. The first, played January 12-19, is “Crazy Meshugga Hurricane Earthquake” by Amy coleman, directed by David Mandelbaum. This six-figure play is the story of an unlikely bond that develops between a middle-aged, non-religious Jewish woman and a young Hasidic man struggling with schizophrenia. (More information: https://www.jsnyc.com/season/crazy_meshuge.htm). Together, the two plays present a unique perspective on the tensions among Haredi Jews, who work hard to separate themselves from non-Haredi elements in modern society but are still part of the larger Jewish community.

“Di Froyen” tells the story of a woman from the Brooklyn Hasidic community who fled an abusive marriage and, after being excommunicated and slandered, is kept away from her children. After two years, she obtains a court order granting her visitation rights and returns with a secular Jewish social worker to enforce the order. She meets resistance from the women in her family until the story emerges that she did not actually abandon her family, but fled for her life from a prominent husband who has a history of violence. The women around him are made to realize what happened. They finally unite to defend it and empower women in their community who suffer the same fate.

The Yiddish in the play reflects the evolution of the vernacular, sometimes referred to as “Yinglish,” which is spoken on the streets of Hasidic Brooklyn. The projected surtitles will allow non-Yiddish speakers to keep pace.

“Di Froyen” illustrates the injustices towards religious women in abusive marriages. Although state and local jurisdictions have made great strides in protecting against abusive spouses, ultra-religious Jews are discouraged from stepping outside the system of Jewish religious laws, as this would belittle the unique assumptions and directions of righteous and righteous laws. of God. In such cases – in the hearts of Haredi communities – rabbinical courts take precedence over secular family courts, and a husband’s religious status may discredit the charges against him.

This play is based on “Women’s Minyan”, a Hebrew play by Naomi Ragen based on a true story. Ragen’s play was adapted for New Yiddish Rep (NYR) by Melissa Weisz and Malky goldman, both of whom were born into the Hasidic community.

Melissa Weisz (they-them) is an actor, writer and producer who grew up in the Brooklyn Hasidic community and made his acting debut as Manke in the NYT Critics’ Choice “God of Vengeance”. Their TV credits include “Unorthodox” and “High Maintenance”. Their film credits include the award-winning films “Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish”, “Felix and Meira” and “Tzadeikis”. They were featured in Vogue’s “American Women in Transformation” and were honored by Jewish Week magazine in their “36 Under 36 Millennials Pushing Change Through Compassion.” Melissa was the subject of NBC’s viral video “Ex-Hasidic Woman Embraces her Queer Identity” and their video, “Can you be religious and queer?” They are the producer and host of “The Forbidden Apple Podcast,” which explores the complex relationship between gay people and religion / faith. (Melissaweisz.com)

Malky goldman is an actor and writer currently based in New York City. Originally from Jerusalem, she moved to the United States to study and graduated from Hunter College with a degree in Studio Art. His creative portfolio spans several visual media disciplines, including film, theater and painting. Her most recent acting work includes a chasidic horror film, “The Vigil” (Blumhouse / BoulderLight) directed by Kieth Thomas, premiered at TIFF and distributed by IFC. She has also appeared in the Netflix miniseries “Unorthodox”, the HBO show “High Maintenance” and the film “The Binding of Itzik” by Anika Benkov. She played Hedda Gabler, played the role of Daisy in the Yiddish production of New Yiddish Rep’s “Rhinoceros”, and appeared in NYR’s critically acclaimed “God of Vengeance”.

Director Rachel Botchan has appeared in over 40 Drama Desk productions and Obie winner Pearl Theater Company. She has also performed with the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene in several productions, most recently “The Sorceress”. Along with New Yiddish Rep, she appeared in “God of Vengeance”. Regionally, she worked in Two River, Philadelphia Theater Company, Milwaukee Rep., Virginia Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse and the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, among others. She is also an audiobook narrator and teaches Shakespeare at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

The piece will be performed by Caraid O’Brien, Rachel Botchan, Suzanne toren, Lori Leifer, Dylan Seder Hoffman, Melissa Weisz and Amy coleman. The scenographer is Marc Marcante. The lighting designer is Alexander Bartenieff. The costume designer is Malky goldman.

New Yiddish Representative (NYR) (www.newyiddishrep.org) has strived since its founding in 2007 to bring Yiddish theater into a post-nostalgic phase of 21st century development, empowering members of the Yiddish theater community by providing them with a platform to develop new works and explore the classics of world theater, both in and new translations. At the same time, NYR has worked tirelessly to develop new talent among native Yiddish speaking communities by hosting writing and drama workshops to help populate a future generation of Yiddish actors and playwrights.

NYR has produced Yiddish theater classics by Sholem Aleichem, Moshe Nadir, IL Peretz,, and more recently a critically acclaimed production of Sholem Asch‘s “God of Vengeance”. He commissioned and produced the revolutionary Yiddish world premiere translation of Samuel beckett“Waiting For Godot” as well as the world premiere in Yiddish of “Rhinoceros” by Eugène Ioneco, Hanoch Levin‘s “Life’s Work” and “The Ohio Whore”, and Slawomir Mrozek‘s “Out At Sea”. He produced Chaver pavertranslation of Clifford odets‘”Wake up and sing.” His famous production of Joseph buloffThe Yiddish translation of “Death Of A Salesman” won Drama Desk nominations for Best Cover of a Play and Best Actor (Avi hoffmann).


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