“Centenary of the DYBBUK” programme on the anniversary of the world premiere of An-ski’s play
On 9 December 2020 we celebrate the centenary the world premiere of “The Dybbuk” by Szymon An-ski. On this occasion, the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw together with institutions promoting Jewish art has created a programme of events to accompany the anniversary. As part of the project, on 8-9 December, there will be an online premiere of a VR installation directed by Paweł Passini, an online performance of “Babie Lato” [Indian Summer] by Adi Weinberg, and an international seminar devoted to the work of Szymon An-ski and a discussion of theatre directors about the stage history of the drama. We are also planning to publish a previously considered lost translation of “The Dybbuk.”
On a December evening in 1920, the world premiere of “The Dybbuk” performed by Vilna Troupe and directed by David Herman took place at the Elizeum Theatre in Karowa Street in Warsaw. The performance was staged in Yiddish.
This event is an important moment in the history of Jewish theatre, in Poland and beyond. Over time, “The Dybbuk” became known as “Jewish Forefathers’ Eve”, and some commentators spoke about the “dybukkisation” of Polish Theatre, confirming the great influence of the play on Polish stage. An-ski’s play, a timeless story about love and death, affords an opportunity to talk about the interpenetration of cultures and how tradition can enter into dialogue with modernity.
As part of the “Centenary of the DYBBUK” programme, the Theatre Institute in cooperation with the Ester Rachel and Ida Kamiński Jewish Theatre will organize a meeting of theatrical producers and – in an international group of researchers and authors – we will remember the text and figure of the author and one of the first translators of the play into Polish – the director and playwright, Marek Arnsztajn (Andrzej Marek). An important element of celebrating the anniversary of the world premiere will be the publication of the lost translation of “The Dybbuk” by the aforementioned director – the basis of the majority of pre-war stagings of the play in Polish theatres.
On the anniversary of the world premiere, we will also present a theatrical installation by Paweł Passini will be presented – an immersive VR video produced over the course of thirty days that separate the centenary of Szymon An-ski’s death and the centenary of the world premiere of his most famous play. We will also invite viewers to an online show of Adi Weinberg’s play “Babie Lato” [Indian Summer], in which, together with the dancer, we will go on a journey following the voice of her blind grandmother, Chaia. This name has several meanings in Hebrew and two of them are “alive” and “lived”. This duality is also present in “The Dybbuk”, the subtitle of which is “between two worlds.”
The commemoration of the anniversary of “The Dybbuk” will also be accompanied by a virtual exhibition devoted to the theatrical fates of this text. It will include, among others, archival photos, theatre programmes and posters, as well as fragments of videos and films related to the play.
Centenary of the DYBBUK programme was financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017-2022.