Longing for the old country? Wish you could have studied abroad in Prague? Missed your cousin’s wedding because of an exam? Well then you will love PW’s production of “The Golem… or Get These Nazis Out of My Wedding” written and directed by Phoebe Nir ’14. This show is more fun than my bat mitzvah, granted I’m not Jewish, but now I wish I were.
Set in 1938 Prague, Nir’s interactive play transports the audience to a secret Jewish wedding after the Nazis have invaded and outlawed any such ceremony. A smart mix of written material, improv, and audience participation creates the unexpectedly wild and comedic ride through romance, secrecy, and Nazi violations. I don’t want to ruin the many surprises Phoebe has in store, but be ready to eat, dance, and be merry—oy vey, someone is getting married, remember!
The ensemble of characters creates a fast and whirl wind experience. Every cast member is strong and gives a unique portal through which the members of the audience can experience the wedding. As playgoer Jon Millstein ’13 remarked, “It is impossible to not be engaged: when the characters are startled, you are startled, and when they cheered, you cheered. You felt a bond to everyone in the room.” I encourage you to start a conversation with everyone you can! They are a talkative bunch. Marty Strauss ’16 stands out as the traditional Rabbi Horowitz. Similarly, I don’t know how they do it, but David Lee Dallas III ’13 and Evan Silver ’16 bring an air of whimsy and absurdity as they play Nazis Rudolph and Gandalph respectively. Also, watch out for virginal bride Rivka played by Ava Langford ’14. She controls the room and will similarly command your attention.
This play serves more as a reminder of the joy and resilience of the Jewish people than it does of the horrors that followed in the years to come. Most plays and productions about this timeframe focus on the atrocities committed. On the contrary, Nir works to find the hope and love that kept these people going during those trying times. When speaking to Nir about creating the show, she mentioned that the generation of Holocaust survivors is slowly dwindling. Soon there will only be museums, history texts, and stories. “As the new generation, we need to make [the Holocaust] legible and digestible,” Nir remarked. Nir isn’t rewriting history, but instead creates a positive environment for discussion and remembrance.
However, Nir is aware of the responsibility that comes with writing about such sensitive subject matter. As Nir writes in her director’s note, “We have made a conscientious effort to build something that promotes sensitivity over numbness, engagement over complacency, and belief in humanity over cynicism and anger.” Nir’s play shows the power of love over hate, and for a brief moment will remind you that in the darkest of times there is always occasion to laugh and celebrate. This material is delicate stepping ground, but Nir does a great job balancing humor and history.
Lastly, I got lifted up in the chair during the hora. That could be you! So, boys, bring your muscles. Don’t worry about the yarmulkes; they have some you can borrow.
Opening tonight, the show runs November 16th to 19th with shows at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (except no 11 p.m. show on the 19th). Only 40 tickets are available per show, so come early to get a spot. For more info check out the Facebook event.