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The Dybbuk Century: 100 Years of the Jewish Play that Possessed the World, with Debra Caplan

Click here to register for this free virtual event, co-presented by New Lehrhaus, the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco, KlezCalifornia, and Workers Circle / Arbeter Ring of Northern California .

A little over 100 years ago, the first production of An-sky’s The Dybbuk, a play about the possession of a young woman by a dislocated spirit, opened in Warsaw. In the century that followed, The Dybbuk became a theatrical conduit for a wide range of discourses about Jews, belonging, and modernity. This timeless Yiddish play about spiritual possession beyond the grave would go on to exert a remarkable and unforgettable impact on modern theater, film, literature, music, and culture. This talk, based on Dr. Caplan’s recently published co-edited volume The Dybbuk Century, will consider this remarkable history and the enduring influence of The Dybbuk.

Debra Caplan is associate professor of theater at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She specializes in modern Jewish theater and performance, with a focus on Yiddish theater. Her first book, Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy (University of Michigan Press, 2018), won the George Freedley Memorial Award from the Theatre Library Association for best new book in theater and performance studies, and the Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies from the Modern Language Association. The Dybbuk Century: The Jewish Play That Possessed the World, a collection co-edited with Rachel Merrill Moss, was published by University of Michigan Press in 2023. Dr. Caplan’s writing has appeared in Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, Performance Research, New England Theater Journal, Comparative Drama, In Geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies, American Jewish History, and Studies in American Jewish Literature, among other publications. She is co-founder of the Digital Yiddish Theater Project, an international research collective that applies digital tools to the study of Yiddish theater. She is also a playwright, director, dramaturg, and theater translator.


Sunday, March 17, 2024


Pacific Time
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

More Info

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Virtual via Zoom