Arts Watch: Target Margin Brings Yiddish Theater Back to the LES

The ( * ) Inn *empty, vacant, abandoned; usually translated as “Haunted,” comes to Abrons this week. Photo courtesy Target Margin Theater

How appropriate for Target Margin Theater to bring Peretz Hirschbein’s classic 1912 tale of Yiddish life, The ( * ) Inn, back to life here on the LES. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Lower East Side was New York City’s epicenter for Yiddish life and theater. The (*) Inn, (*usually translated as “haunted”) which opens this week and runs through March 30th at Abrons Arts Center, is one of more than a dozen plays about the lives and loves of rural Jews written by Yiddish-language playwright, novelist, journalist, travel writer, and theater director Hirschbein. But don’t expect a sweet Little House on the Prairie story.  Hirschbein’s Inn, as re-staged by Director David Herskovits, is a lustful tale full of symbolism. According to Target Margin Theater, this production is “Tevya on Drugs.”

The ( * ) Inn was a sensation when it opened in Vilna, played in London, and was staged in a 1917 New York production (no doubt somewhere on Second Avenue).  Experimentation is nothing new when it comes to playwriting.  The ( * ) Inn proves that Yiddish drama is as innovative and challenging as any theater in the world.

The ( * ) Inn // Target Margin Theater at Abrons Arts Center // March 7 – 30, Thurs – Sat at 8pm, 
Sun at 7pm, 
added perf Mon 3/11 at 7pm
 *Special Thurs 3/14 Benefit Performance at 7pm //  $20 until 3/11, 
$25 thereafter