Dr. Lisa Peschel, University of York
A talk to follow Sunday matinee performance of Why We Laugh
(to conclude long before sundown)
WHY WE LAUGH
Sunday Matinee Performance
Open Eye Figure Theatre
506 East 24th Street, Minneapolis MN 55404
Admission is $20general; $15 for students, seniors, and MN Fringe button holders.
WHY WE LAUGH is a new adaptation of Laugh with Us!, an original cabaret by Felix Porges, Vítězslav Horpatzky, Pavel Weisskopf and Pavel Stránský, written and performed in 1944 in the World War II Jewish Ghetto at Terezín, just 40 miles northwest of Prague (English translation & dramaturgy by Lisa Peschel).
Dr. Lisa Peschel, the scholar who discovered the cabaret texts and translated them into English (they are collected in the book Performing Captivity, Performing Escape) will deliver a brief talk after the performance on Sunday, September 13. Entitled Translating Terezin, it will be the story of Peschel’s search for the meaning of the text—how, with the aid of survivors she cracked the code of the slang and inside jokes to capture the prisoners’ unique, resilient sense of humor. A question and answer period will follow.
The cabaret, complete with its original sheet music, came to light in the spring of 2005 in two separate family archives. The original cabaret is set in a postwar Prague identical to the beloved city the Czech Jews remembered from the late 1930s. In playwright Kira Obolensky’s new adaptation, characters based on the original Terezín performers encounter “the scholar,” a theater historian from our present. As the performers look forward to the postwar future and the scholar looks back toward their past, they confront each other with difficult questions: Why did the Terezín prisoners laugh, and what does that laughter mean to us today?
For more information please visit Fortune's Fool Theatre.
Talk organized by the Center for Austrian Studies, co-sponsored by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies. Production of Why We Laugh is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; and by a grant from RIMON: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.