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Transnationalism and Jewish Theatre

Sun, December 16, 4:15 to 5:45pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Cambridge 1

Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Abstract

**in memoriam Jonathan M. Hess**

This roundtable panel showcases several important new resources for the study of Jewish theatre, particularly relating to its international scope and appeal. The purpose of this roundtable is twofold: first, to discuss three new monographs related to the topic of transnationalism and Jewish theatre; and second, to consider the subject in relation to Plotting Yiddish Drama, a new initiative by the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project. The following core questions will be addressed: why is theatre a particularly rich lens for considering international networks and influences? What does a focus on these sorts of global connections add to our understandings of theatre in general and Jewish theatre in particular? The discussants on the panel include authors of new monographs that consider transnationalism and Jewish theatre and scholars who have been involved with the creation of Plotting Yiddish Drama. We will honor the work of our late colleague Jonathan Hess by discussing his last book, DEBORAH AND HER SISTERS: HOW ONE NINETEENTH-CENTURY MELODRAMA AND A HOST OF CELEBRATED ACTRESSES PUT JUDAISM ON THE WORLD STAGE, and his commitment to the study of Jewish theatre. This conversation will be led by Sharon Gillerman, a scholar of German-Jewish transnational performance who collaborated closely with Hess. Our discussants also include the authors of two recent monographs about the international scope of Yiddish theatre professionals. We thus also look forward to talking about Debra Caplan’s YIDDISH EMPIRE: THE VILNA TROUPE, JEWISH THEATER, AND THE ART OF ITINERANCY and Diego Rotman’s THE STAGE AS A TEMPORARY HOME: ON DZIGAN AND SHUMACHER’S THEATER (1927-1980). In addition to presenting these new studies of transnationalism and Jewish theatre, this roundtable will introduce a new Digital Humanities resource that can assist future scholarly projects. Plotting Yiddish Drama is a searchable, online database of English-language plot synopses of Yiddish plays. During the session, discussants, including Digital Yiddish Theatre Project co-founders Joel Berkowitz and Debra Caplan and PYD managing editor Sonia Gollance, will introduce this resource and discuss ways in which PYD can be a valuable tool for research, teaching, and performance.

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