Public Programs: Bridging Cultures through Film

Period of Performance

11/1/2011 - 7/31/2012

Funding Totals

$60,000.00 (approved)
$60,000.00 (awarded)

Zayn oder nit zayn: To Be or Not To Be in Yiddish

FAIN: TW-50188-12

National Center for Jewish Film, Inc. (Waltham, MA 02254)
David Fisher (Project Director: July 2011 to April 2014)

Development of a 60-minute documentary that follows a group of young actors preparing a production that explores the history of Yiddish theater.

Zayn oder nit zayn—To Be or Not to Be in Yiddish is a 60 min. documentary that follows a group of young actors who come together to create a theater production presenting the history and development of Yiddish theater through scenes from important plays. We watch the young actors go through the process of learning how to act in Yiddish. Meanwhile, the film listens in on commentary from, and dialogue between the actors and our group of scholars and other experts who provide insights into the linguistic, historical, anthropological, and sociological aspects of that culture, and how these influenced the theater and vice versa. This interplay between the actors and the scholars provides the foundation of an understanding of Yiddish culture and its relevance to our world today, based on the thesis that an understanding of Yiddish culture helps provide an understanding of wider minority and Diaspora cultural practices.