In the World War Two Jewish ghetto at Theresienstadt, a young prisoner named Zdeněk Jelínek wrote a play in the commedia dell'arte style about a question of urgent interest to them all: would Harlequin, the lovable clown, escape the clutches of the Capitano? Jelínek perished in the Holocaust and his script, titled Comedy about a Trap, was thought lost until recently, when Dr Lisa Peschel located a copy saved by a survivor and preserved in the archives of a Czech theatre company. Now two groups of students, one at York St John University and the other at the University of York, have developed new, devised performances inspired by the preserved script. The performances will explore the political commitment of the young author, the environment of the ghetto, and a question for our own day: what are we to make of a comedy written during the Holocaust?
Each evening will feature a double bill. Performers from the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television will present the original Comedy about a Trap script each night, and the devised performances will run in repertory:
• Thursday 2 June and Saturday 4 June: University of York
• Friday 3 June and Sunday 5 June: York St John University
All performances take place in the Black Box, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York. The purchase of one ticket entitles spectators to attend any of the four evenings.
Sponsored by Performing the Jewish Archive and the University of York's Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past
On Thursday 2 June at 6pm, Professor Rebecca Rovit of the University of Kansas, currently a Visiting Senior Associate at Oxford’s Pembroke College, will present a lecture ‘Renewing a Legacy: The Jewish Cultural League in Nazi Germany’ in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television’s Holbeck Cinema.
Spectators are invited to stay after the performance for a question-and-answer session with the artists.
The Thursday and Sunday performances will be followed by a wine reception.
Performing the Jewish Archive
This event is part of Performing the Jewish Archive, a three year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project working to explore hidden archives, uncover and perform lost works, and create a legacy for the future. For more information visit the Performing the Jewish Archive website.
Tickets can be booked & paid for on line via the festival website: http://ptja.leeds.ac.uk/festivals/leeds-york-2016/
Maps and directions to the University of York: https://www.york.ac.uk/about/maps/