UAlbany Stages English-Language
Premiere Of Classic Yiddish Play
Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 18, 2005) -- The University
at Albany Center for Jewish Studies, department
of theatre, and Performing Arts Center will
stage a reading of Peretz Hirschbein’s
1905 Yiddish drama, Miriam, at 2:30 p.m. on
Sunday, April 3, 2005 at the UAlbany’s
Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.
The reading will be directed by Joel Berkowitz
of the UAlbany Judaic studies department, and
performed by a cast of students, faculty members,
and professional performers. A discussion with
the translators and cast, as well as a kosher
reception, will follow the performance.
The reading is the premiere of a new English
translation of this work, a collaborative effort
by Berkowitz and Jeremy Dauber (Columbia University)
which will be published in their forthcoming
anthology, Landmark Yiddish
Plays (SUNY Press).
Miriam was the first play written by Hirschbein,
who helped transform the Yiddish repertoire
with his nuanced, sophisticated dramas of Eastern
European Jewish life. Until now, Miriam has
remained one of Yiddish theatre’s hidden
treasures, according to Berkowitz, with "beautifully
written dialogue, deftly drawn characters,
and a moving story of an innocent confronting
the perils of big-city life."
Berkowitz said, "Though written nearly
a century ago, Hirschbein’s drama feels
very contemporary. The love of simple people
for which Hirschbein was famous is vividly
on display here, yet at the same time, Miriam unflinchingly confronts profound social problems,
in the spirit of other controversial naturalistic
dramas of its era, including Sholem Asch’s
God of Vengeance, Gorky’s The
and Shaw’s Mrs.
The reading is free and open to the public.
For more information contact Yoel Hirschfeld,