Thursday, October 20, 2016

Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls at La MaMa

La MaMa presents
G R E A T   S M A L L   W O R K S

October 28 - November 06, 2016

Thursday to Saturday at 7:30PM
Saturday and Sunday at 2PM
First Floor Theatre | 74a East 4th Street
$20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors

Buy tickets here:
There are still some $10 tickets available! Act fast! 

Great Small Works revisits the work of radical 20th-century New York City puppeteers Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler. In a bilingual Yiddish-English play that uses Maud and Cutler's satirical puppet scripts and original graphics, together with Great Small Works' own puppets and projections, and appearances by demented dybbuks and Mae West, Muntergang is a meditation on historical (and applicable) models for changing power relationships.
Created and performed by Great Small Works members John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine and Roberto Rossi, in collaboration with the archive of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research With puppeteers Joseph Therrien and Sam Wilson

Music by Jessica Lurie and Hannah Temple

Lights by Meredith Holch; sound by Akeyjoa Ando

Script by Jenny Romaine

1 comment:

  1. Company Notes

    When YIVO reached out to Great Small Works to animate the work of the Yiddish puppet troupe MODICUT we were delighted. Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler are undoubtedly our artistic ancestors as puppeteers, modernist folk artists, and Yiddish storytellers drawn to making work about shifting systemic social relationships.

    Their early 20th-century methodology, knocking about and hitting each other with expressionist dolls they had built themselves, was part of a larger broad-visioned movement to transform human behavior and achieve dignity and safety for a lot of vulnerable people. How inspiring! Not only were they prismatic artists working in Yiddish and fascinated with puppets, but they felt they could win! The movements they were connected to, with all of their faults, seemed able to effect paradigm shifts in culture, to change the nature of “what is ok” in the treatment of veterans,

    workers, farmers, poor people, black people, women, elders, immigrants, and children. This piece is about Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler, but it is also a meditation on how to embody values that change power relations.. As descendents of Yiddishland, we inherit what Haym Soloveitchik calls “the dual tradition of the intellectual and the mimetic, the law as taught and the law as practiced...” “Words,” he adds, “are good for description but pathetically inadequate for teaching how to do something. Try learning

    how to tie shoelaces from written instructions. One learns best by being shown; that is to say, mimetically.”

    How do we use ancestral mimesis and communal behavior to disturb the peace? To crack through our own participation in what is subtly articulated in the Black Lives Matter movement, but I’ll call white supremacy? How can our languages and traditions give us the courage to question Possession by Whiteness?

    Many of the words in the script are not mine. They are insights and questions by inclusive, empathetic and brilliant scholars / friends. These wise people include: Zuni Maud, Yosl Kotler, Moyshe Nadir, Sh. Ansky, Aurora Levins Morales, Andrea Smith, Agi Legutko, anonymous cartoonists from the Yiddish Press 1905-1936, Yehoyesh, Haym Soloveitchik, Adrienne Marie Brown, Gabriella Safran, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Mae West, David G. Roskies, Donella Meadows, James Baldwin, Rosza Daniel Lang/Levitsky, Anna Jacobs, Michael Wex, Itzik Gottesman, Arian Nekhaie, David Schneer, Joachim Neugroschel, Anna Elena Torres Je Exodus Hooper, Naomi Seidman, Jared Sexton, Robby Pekarar and Peretz Markish.

    Sincere thanks to these great thinkers, and to you, tayere oylem, for coming to see this production and being part of the experiment.

    —Jenny Romaine, for Great Small Works