March 05, 2010

Vilna’s Got a Golem

By Ernest Joselovitz
Performances on March 5,6, 11, 12, & 13 at 7:30pm

By Ernest Joselovitz
Performances on March 5,6, 11, 12, & 13 at 7:30pm
Performed by Students of Lewis & Clark College
Fir Acres Theatre 

Director: Stephanie Arnold
Musical Director: Chrisse Roccaro
Scene & Costume Designer: Michael Olich
Lighting Designer/Technical Director: Matthew Robins
Stage Manager/Golem Designer: Kaye Blankenship 


The Theatre Department presents Vilna’s Got A Golem by Ernest Joselovitz on the Main Stage of Fir Acres Theatre the first two weeks of March.  The play, written in 1997, draws on the Yiddish theatre tradition and the legend of the Golem to address complex issues related to the resistance to oppression and the proliferation of violence, both historically and in our contemporary world.

At first the play appears to be a comedy, and comic elements continue throughout.  A troupe of actors from Vilna in 1899 are putting on a play that supposedly takes place in 1540.  Written by a company member, the “play within the play” tells of the creation of a Golem by two poor Jewish cobblers to avenge a family death perpetrated by a mob.  But a darker undertone grows stronger, first as the story of loss becomes more apparent, and then as the Golem becomes an out of control force of random violence.

An ensemble cast of eight students plays multiple roles accompanied by onstage musicians, including actors Nate Cohen, Marissa Fenley, Diana Fox, Sander Gusinow, Rob McKenzie, Tessa Siegal, Matthew Tratos, and Amy Wolfburg, and musicians Jahnavi Caldwell-Green and Austin Moore.

The play is not appropriate for children younger than middle school.


Post play discussions with prominent community scholars and a lecture on the Golem and contemporary representation will also accompany the performances.

Post Play Discussions in the Theatre Following the Performance:
Saturday March 6
Professor Natan Meir, Portland State University

Friday March 12
Rabbi Jonathan Seidel, Lewis & Clark College, Portland State University, and the             University of Oregon

Wednesday March 17
Lecture by Rabbi Jonathan Seidel, Adj. Chaplain, L&C College

“The Golem in Literature, Art and Film: Reflections on Magic and Jewish Poser.”

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