Last night I went to Storahtelling‘s Bloody Esther Purim event. If you’re not familiar with Storahtelling, founded in 1999 by Executive Director Amichai Lau-Lavie, they’re a ritual theatre company. Their shtick is bringing “translations” of ancient Jewish texts to life by renewing the words through modern interpretation. Today, Storahtelling works around the world with people of all ages, training educators and producing shows that add modern meaning to ancient texts. Additionally, Storahtelling began 5770 by establishing residency at the 14th Street Y, where they have monthly performances for kids of all ages, including StorahStage – educational programming for 2-5 year olds.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect at their Purim shpiel, but my limited expectations were surpassed. As Hadassah, a drag queen, emceed the shpiel and narrated the megillas Esther-based story, the characters, in all their glory, and with new attitudes, came to life on stage. The
audience at City Winery had a great time and soaked up every minute of the performance.
Highlights, according to the people sitting around me:
- The angel of dead Vashti, dancing around stage in lingerie and angel’s wings made at least a few peoples’ dreams come true.
- Chester the court jester cuddling up to Hadassah… and his loin cloth’s meandering over the course of the night.
- The enchanting Galeet Dardashti, a Middle Eastern musician, who read the megillah with such an incredibly powerful and beautiful voice.
- Esther deciding that she didn’t just want to save the Jews, she wanted to personally kill Haman (and Mordechai, and the king).
- Jewschool’s SBB‘s opening the show, bringing the Amalek massacre to life by screaming and running through the venue with a red-splattered white sheet, where she nearly knocked over a waitress with about 20 glasses of wine.
If you’re in the New York City area, I highly recommend checking out their other upcoming events.