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'Awake and Sing!,' in Yiddish.

Since the days of the Thomashefskys taking on Shakespeare, Yiddish dramatists have mounted productions of classic plays in translation. Recently, these have included EugAaAaAeA?ne Ionesco's Rhinoceros, Waiti for Godot, and Death of a Salesman. The latest work to get this treatment (courtesy the New Yiddish Rep) is the Clifford Odets classic Awake and Sing!, one of the best-known plays about the American-Jewish experience.

Awake and Sing! is far from an unusual choice to be performed in the mamaloshen; it originally debuted in 1935, and only three years later a WPA production ran in Yiddish. The play presents Jewish immigrants and native-born Americans alike as they would be at home, speaking in their native language. The Yiddish (which I do not speak) is mesmerizing, with English and Americanisms scattered throughout the language like holes that will one day wear away the fabric entirely.

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Author:Geselowitz, Gabriela
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Dec 8, 2017
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