LEAH ENTERS LATE
CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE
A collaboration with the National Yiddish Book Center
Priscilla Kane Hellweg and Rachel Kuhn
The audience enters the Book Center to the smooth sounds of Barney Kessel coming from the book stacks. Two actors, dressed for late fall, New York, enter and begin to read excerpts of Yiddish literature to each other, from selected works. Ruth and Samuel Zamler are in their “basement” sorting through a lifetime of collected books – deciding which ones to keep and which to give to the young people from the Book Center who are on their way over to collect the books.
The doorbell rings and the audience is told they must come in, talk, eat and have tea, hear their stories, before the books are to be relinquished. It is clear, they are passing on their history, their tradition-- “Di bikher zenen geven lebedike nefoshes” -- the books were living souls.
The Zamlers lead the audience into the theater and speak as if in their living room, intimately telling stories of the books, and their lives. They tell of different characters- authors, politicians, friends and foe, moving in and out of the relevant times in history as they speak, contextualizing the stories and important events in the history of Yiddish Literature.
Their 17 year old granddaughter Leah arrives early on. It appears that she’s just had a fight with her mother about her future. As the story unfolds, Leah struggles to figure out who she is – find her place in the world. Her grandparents' readings of their favorite stories begin to offer insight.
At its heart, LEAH ENTERS LATE is a modern tale of growing up and letting go. As both Leah and her grandparents explore assimilation, identity and how to hold on to the past while moving forward.
LEAH ENTERS LATE is appropriate for 6th grade through adult audiences.For reservations and information, contact The National Yiddish Book Center at 413.256.4900.
Performances are held on site at the National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA.
"Leah Enters Late was an exquisitely appropriate culmination for our immigration unit. Through a beautifully scripted and acted performance that portrayed the essence of the conflict between preserving one's own heritage and assimilating, our students were provided with a deeply moving and quintessentially engaging means of seeing the topics they had studied come alive.”
~Tom, 6th grade teacher, Northampton, MA
~ Sequoia, 6th grade student, Northampton, MA
“I thank you both for the pleasure of this amazing play…I would equate your play to an exquisite necklace of incredible gems, each one filled with many facets, and strung so beautifully together. You were able to give so many gems of information, history, culture, music, food, and on and on and it all came together so beautifully. I was captivated the entire play. I laughed, cried and really delighted in having the privilege to learn and share with the family. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!”
~ Amy, therapist, Holyoke, MA
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