«Jewish Observer»
April 2002
5762 Iyar

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Can Kerch be called a theatrical town? This is a bold question. The theatrical Kerch is little known to the inhabitants of many big cities, some of them do not even know where our city is located. It is, consequently, rather pleasant to tell abut the achievements of a young theatrical amateur company founded nearly two years ago under the guardianship of the Kerch Jewish Community.

Our theatrical studio "Laugh and tears' took part in the First International Festival of Jewish Community Theaters in Moscow February 24 - 28. The State Prize Laureate, People's Artist Guennady Hazanov headed the festival jury; the project artistic director was the Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Mark Rozovsky.

26 performances of amateur and professional collectives from the CIS countries and Israel were among the contestants to be included onto the festival agenda. Strict selection chose two professional collectives from Omsk and Kishinev and seven amateur studios from Moscow, Rostov-na-Donu, Vladimir, Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan), Vinnitsa, Poltava and Kerch. The Maly Theatre's stage hosted the opening ceremony of the festival. The festival performances were presented on the stages of theatres "Near the Nikitsky gates" and "Sholom". The audience witnessed, so to say, the entire history of the Jewish people: from the Bible times ("Moshe", Vladimir) till our days. The Kerch collective's performance "Hello - good-bye..., or where pine trees float to" ended the festival program. Created after the stories "Izya Kats and other Russians" by A. Krumer, it managed to reflect doubts and hopes of contemporary repatriates, our fellow-countrymen.

The performance was perceived in the same breath and ended in questions to the audience. The questions were about a life to which everybody has his own answers. The show was awarded the "Audience Prize", won thunderous applause; the producer and actors gave an interesting interview. The spectators were much fond of the sincere and ingenuous play by the oldest actor, a 77-year old Leizer Moiseyevich Frenkel.

Prior to the festival, the collective carried out a big artistic work that had begun in June 2000 under the leadership of a young talented producer Roman Rogoza. He managed to unite people of different ages and professions into one collective. Only nine persons were chosen out of a multitude of stage applicants - the staunchest and most infatuated by the idea of creating a Jewish theatre. The first rehearsals were those of a drama circle, not of a theatrical studio. The people studied actor's craft, learned the basics of theatrical art. The first staging "Bewitched tailor" by Sholom-Aleihem evoked a big interest of the audience and inspired the actors.

The theatre toured the Crimean towns with big success. The participation in the festival and acknowledgement on the Moscow stage became a new phase in the artistic development of the collective. Renewal of the repertoire, new stage findings are not only the achievements of the amateur theatrical collective alone, but of the Jewish theatre on the whole.

The festival gave an impetus and new strength to those who want to revive the Jewish artistic spirit without which the Jewish renaissance is impossible.

At all times a theatrical art has been a unique way to understand the history and culture of each people - a component part of the multinational culture of peoples. The "Laugh and tears" theatre perfects its craft and awaits invitations to perform on different stages.


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© 2002 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org