The Shalom Jewish TheatreRussian: Evreyskiy teatr «Shalom» or Еврейский театр «Шалом» is one of Moscow’s landmarks. Founded in the late 1980s, it attracted immediate public attention. The repertoire of the Shalom Theatre is based mostly on classical and modern works by Jewish authors, which are invariably full of gentle or grim humour. The troupe, composed of actors of various nationalities, gives performances in Russian. The theatre stages traditional productions, shows for children, musicals as well as hosting concerts and poetry readings.
The theatre’s main building with its 188-seat auditorium is located in the south of Moscow, but it is now closed for renovation. Currently, performances are given on the stage of the Moscow Jewish Community CentreRussian: Moskovskiy evreyskiy obschinnyi tsentr or Московский еврейский общинный центр as well as at other venues. The Shalom Theatre often goes on tour in both Russia and abroad.
History of the Jewish theatre in Moscow
The national Jewish theatre was founded in Moscow shortly after the Russian Revolution of 1917, with two Jewish theatres opening in Moscow in 1919. Performances were given in Hebrew at GabimaRussian: Габима, and in Yiddish at GOSETRussian: ГОСЕТ, which is short for the State Jewish TheatreRussian: Gosudarstvennyi evreyskiy teatr or Государственный еврейский театр. The theatre world warmly welcomed these theatres, and the Jewish community was ecstatic about them. The repertoires featured plays by Jewish dramatists. In 1926, the Gabima Theatre troupe went on tour abroad and never returned to the Soviet Union, as they were persuaded that performances in Hebrew had no future in the USSR. This theatre settled in Israel and is still there today.
GOSET stopped giving performances in 1949, one year after the murder of its director, Solomon Mikhoels. The Frei KunstRussian: Фрай – кунст Jewish Theatre Studio was closed even earlier (1926-1930), and there was no Jewish theatre in Moscow for the next forty years. The Moscow Jewish Dramatic Ensemble, or MEDARussian: Moskovskiy evreyskiy dramaticheskiy ansambl' (MEDA) or Московский еврейский драматический ансамбль (МЕДА), has been affiliated with MoskontsertRussian: Москонцерт (The Moscow Concerts Association) since 1962.
In 1986, the MEDA Ensemble became the Shalom Jewish Theatre, with A. Levenbuk at its head. The new theatre moved into a building of its own in 1988, and shows were staged in Russian. The troupe, whilst made up mostly of MEDA actors, also welcomed young talented artists. Adam and EveRussian: Adam i Eva or Адам и Ева, a musical based on the Bible story with music by I. Demarin, premiered in 2013 in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the theatre.
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Shalom theatre today
Currently, the Shalom Theatre is the only Jewish theatre in Russia. It is very popular with the public and enjoys notable success abroad, especially in Israel and in the USA. Its director Alexander Levenbuk considers the theatre to a key ingredient in the mutual understanding between the Jewish people and other nationalities. In 2016, the Shalom Theatre joined the International Institute, an organization affiliated with UNESCO with the aim to advocate free cultural self-expression in the cause of peace.
Among the theatre’s actors are Jewish people, Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Balts, Poles and many other nationalities. The repertoire includes What is it you see in her?Russian: Chto ty v ney nashyol? or Что ты в ней нашел? based on Shosha, a novel by the Nobel prize winner I. Zinger, A Spanish BalladRussian: Ispanskaya ballada or Испанская баллада based on a novel by L. Feuchtwanger, My Kosher LadyRussian: Moya koshernaya ledi or Моя кошерная леди, a musical comedy by A. Khayt and V. Shainsky, Love with ObstaclesRussian: Lyubov s prepyatstviyami or Любовь с препятствиями by A. Trushkin and Madame RozaRussian: Мадам Роза, a play by N. Kolyada based on a novel by E. Ajar, Wandering StarsRussian: Bluzhdayuschie zvyozdy or Блуждающие звёзды, a musical based on a novel by Sh. Aleichem, Garnished Gefilte FishRussian: Farshirovannaya ryba s garnirom or Фаршированная рыба с гарниром, a concert inspired by Jewish folklore, and many other productions.
Children are catered for well at the Shalom Theatre. Their performances are mostly comic musicals based on A. Khayt’s plays, and are usually very popular. Entertaining performances for the little ones run before shows and during the intermissions during holidays and feature intriguing and eye-catching titles (Trali Vali Operation or Shapoklyak’s PlotRussian: Operatsiya «Trali-Vali» ili zagovor Shapoklyak or Операция «Трали-Вали» или заговор Шапокляк; Well, Wolf, Just you Wait!Russian: Nu, Volk, pogodi! or Ну, Волк, погоди!; The Third Penguin’s in the SuitcaseRussian: A tretiy pingvin – v chemodane or А третий пингвин – в чемодане, Leopold the CatRussian: Kot Leopol'd or Кот Леопольд, etc.). Shows aimed at children are less expensive than those intended for adults.© 2016-2019 moscovery.com