Town Hall Motors

Es Brent (It burns, 1992) was Gilgul’s second production, but it had all the relentless invention and shocking urgency of a first encounter—as if Barrie Kosky, the group’s director, and his actors had rediscovered their faculties in a flood of speech and action. Gilgul’s The Dybbuk, 1991, was encyclopedic: a combination of high-volume Holocaust vaudeville, cabbalist ritual, German expressionist cinema, and visions from the book of Ezekiel. These elements were collaged into Solomon Anski’s play, composed on the eve of the Russian Revolution and re-presented in the draughty space of this huge old garage. Es Brent was even more eclectic: Elie Wiesel’s The Trial of God, 18th-century mystic Rabbi Nahman’s fairy tales, the book of Job, and the masked carnival of Purim were condensed into a highly stylized narrative broken by songs about pogrom, sung in Yiddish with raucous piano accompaniment.

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