Part performance, part concert and part exorcism that combines mythic stories and traditional Yiddish songs with contemporary composition, Dybbuks is Samara Hersch’s re-visioning of S. Ansky’s iconic Yiddish story (The Dybbuk) created for two performers, a vocalist, three musicians and a choir of intergenerational Yiddish speaking women.
Through a staged ritual inspired by an exorcism featuring ecstatic song and music, Dybbuks foregrounds female voices that are often sidelined from hosting public ceremony in a Judeo- Christian religious context.
Inspired by her Jewish Ashkenazi heritage, Dybbuks is conceived and directed by theatre maker Samara Hersch who explains that in Yiddish mythology dybbuks are the unresolved souls who seek to find form through living bodies.
Dybbuks emphasises the intersections between Jewish culture and contemporary feminism, Hersch explains. “I feel a responsibility as a Jewish woman to engage not just with the nostalgia of Yiddish language, culture and song, but also with the vitality and relevance that it can offer contemporary society.”
“When I discovered The Dybbuk by S. Ansky, I was struck by the idea of the dead speaking through the female body. I want to examine the notion of the female body as a site that, throughout history, has embodied memory, desire and language. Similarly, I am interested in how the possessed female body, via its potency and power, can be a symbol of resistance to patriarchal control.”
Actor and academic Yoni Prior (Homicide and Prisoner Cell Block-H) will feature in Dybbuks- who also featured in Barrie Kosky’s seminal 1993 production of S. Ansky’s original play. Dybbuks continues Chamber Made’s commitment to creating new works at the nexus of performance, sound and music.
“We are excited to be collaborating with Samara, one of Melbourne’s most dynamic theatre makers, who is creating politically and socially engaged work with diverse communities,” said Chamber Made Artistic Director, Tamara Saulwick.
Concept & Direction: Samara Hersch Performer: Yoni Prior Musicians: Jenny Barnes (vocals), Carolyn Schofield (electronics), Lizzy Welsh (violin), Aviva Endean (clarinet), Choir Yiddish speaking women from Melbourne’s Jewish community Composition & Sound Design: Max Lyandvert Sound Dramaturgy: Tamara Saulwick Lighting Design, Set Design & Project Dramaturgy: Paul Jackson Producer: Chamber Made
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season continues to 26 August 2018
For more information, visit: www.chambermade.org for details.
Image: Aviva Endean features in Dybbuks – photo by Pier Carthew