The Vilna Troupe: From Obscure Amateurs to the World-renowned Theater Company that Brought Us "The Dybbuk"

Boston Workmen's Circle, 1762 Beacon St, Brookline

A Talk in English with Debra Caplan 

From modest beginnings in a dilapidated and unheated circus building in German-occupied Vilna during the First World War, the Vilna Troupe went on to command the attention of prominent intellectuals, journalists, theater artists, and even heads of state throughout Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and North and South America. Tremendously popular with audiences and widely acclaimed by critics, the Vilna Troupe attracted a level of attention and praise - both within and outside of the Jewish community - unprecedented for Yiddish theater artists. This talk will explore the early history of the Vilna Troupe, their rapid rise to fame, and their historic production of The Dybbuk.  Come hear how a motley and largely untrained group of idealistic Yiddish theater aficionados came to transform the landscape of the Yiddish theater.

Debra Caplan is a doctoral candidate in Yiddish at Harvard University, where she is writing a dissertation on the Vilna Troupe and the rise of an international Yiddish art theater movement during the interwar period. She is Assistant Director of Harvard's Mellon School for Theater and Performance Research, and she teaches courses in theater history at Emerson College. She has taught Yiddish language courses at the Boston Workmen's Circle and Prozdor at Hebrew College, and is also a director and translator for the theater.
Suggested donation: sliding scale, $3-$5
This program is sponsored by the Yiddish Committee of the Workmen’s Circle
Co-sponsored by the Goddard House Assisted Living in Brookline