REBECCA JOY FLETCHER is a cantor, actress, playwright, scholar and performer of international Jewish cabaret (she specializes in the works of Jewish cabarets artists between the wars from pre-State Israel, Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, and Moscow). Currently she is working on new project, “DREAM/CITY,” (working title) in honor of Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary in 2009. Through archival research, she is discovering the little known music and comedic sketch material of Tel Aviv’s cabarets; this material will frame DREAM/CITY. Her vision is to create a song and story theatrical cabaret about the myths, madness, and magic which accompanied the founding and flowering of Tel Aviv. Rebecca also serves as cantor and adult educator of Temple Israel in Staten Island. She is a proud member of Kabarett Kollektif, New York’s only European cabaret collective; she is also a member of The Dramatists Guild, the American Conference of Cantors and the Cantors’ Assembly. She is represented by www.goldenland.com & www.zamo-zamo.com
(Photo: Oori Noy Meir)
Warsaw’s Brave and Brilliant Yiddish Cabaret
KLEYNKUNST! follows two of Warsaw’s top cabaret performers as they traverse the darkening landscape of their city. Through their relationship and performance, KLEYNKUNST! illuminates the wit, bravado, and optimism of Jewish Warsaw between the Wars. This show breaths life into long-lost songs and sketches; we hear the strains of jazz and tango, Hassidic chant and vaudeville, Russian folk song and Weimar kabarret. The stage is charged with contradictions: cosmopolitanism and devotion; sexual bawdiness and naiveté; political infighting and camaraderie. KLEYNKUNST! pays homage to a lost world, an era of brilliance and bite. No knowledge of Yiddish necessary!
A LITTLE YEARNING
WORLD WAR ONE HAS JUST ENDED…In Paris, birthplace of cabaret, the nights are filled with the sounds of swinging jazz, biting lyrics and intimate chanson. In Warsaw, the center of Eastern European Jewish life before the Holocaust, a rising class of young professionals begin to frequent a new kind of venue — kleynkunst teaters (Yiddish language cabarets). In Germany’s fragile and volatile Weimar Republic, censorship has been lifted, and suddenly politics, sex, and city living are freely explored on stage. And in the first Hebrew city of Tel Aviv, dolled-up immigrants gather in supper clubs. Scraping the sand of the streets off their shoes as they enter, they come to drink arak, talk politics, and learn to dance the tango.
In this solo cabaret show, the Jewish cabaretists of Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, and Tel Aviv are the real stars. Drawing from a wide range of influences, including jazz, German operetta, French street songs, and the age-old tradition of unceasingly asking questions, these lyricists and composers pushed the art form of cabaret to new heights. In a window between two wars, these cabaretists were dreaming up a new kind of Jew — sophisticated, ironic, empowered.
Degenerate tells the interweaving stories of four of Berlin’s biggest stars — Kurt Geron and Camilla Spira, performers; Kurt Tucholsky, lyricist; and Friedrich Hollander, composer. Uniting the some of era’s best comedic sketch material, together with letters, poems, and cabaret songs in German, Yiddish and translation, Degenerate takes us on a journey of artistic triumphs and critical, split-second choices. We follow our four characters from the cabarets of Berlin to freedom in America; to exile and suicide in Sweden; to the cabaret of Theresienstadt; and to undercover life in Amsterdam. We traverse the blackening times, and witness these artists’ unquenchable passion, reckless self-expression and ferocious wit.