Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yiddish Theater: A Love Story in Indianapolis

This weekend we played in a theater in Indianapolis. Here's the review from the local paper the Indianapolis Star:

Yiddish Theater: A Love Story
Robert Hammerle
by Robert Hammerle
Posted: Jul 28, 2008 in Things to do, Culture, Movies

Tags: documentary, Zypora Spaisman, South Keystone Art Cinema
"B" Rating by Robert W. Hammerle

Seeing "Yiddish Theater: A Love Story" at the South Keystone Art Cinema was meaningful on two levels. First of all, director Dan Katzir has made a heartfelt documentary centering around Zypora Spaisman, an oxygenarian actress trying to save the last surviving Yiddish theater in New York at the end of the 20th century.

On a second level, I could not help but notice the irony in a documentary about the attempts to save the last theater of its kind playing in a movie venue that is the last of its kind here in Indianapolis. South Keystone is a treasure in its own right.

Unlike its upscale counterpart, namely the Landmark Art Cinema at Keystone at the Crossing, you won't find this theater prostituting itself commercially by showing films that can be seen in any other cinema chain in town. South Keystone is a truly independent movie theater in every sense of the word, and it deserves our patronage.

As for the "Yiddish Theater" itself, it is a moving account about the singular dedication of the beautiful and determined Ms. Spaisman. 84 years of age, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust that claimed over 100 members of her family, she has an inspiring story to tell about her life in the "Yiddish Theater."

Because Hitler and his satanic extermination machine were so effective, a large portion of the Yiddish artistic community in Eastern Europe was wiped forever from this earth. Survivors like Zypora dedicated themselves simultaneously to keeping a dying language and art form alive.

She is simply a marvel, as are many of the other older actors who are trying to stave off the closing of their theater. In particular, Zypora's account of the death of her beloved husband whose bedside she left so that she could make rehearsals brings tears to her eyes, as it will yours.

In Zypora we see the true meaning of life. As nice as they are, personal satisfaction in life is not found in public fame or material possessions. Truly wealthy people in this life never give up or give in. They have a personal dedication and spirit to persevere through any crisis that defines the human spirit at its highest level.

SPOILER ALERT Zypora fought for her beloved "Yiddish Theater" to her last breath, only to die thinking that she ultimately failed. However, her tenacious drive survived the grave, as shown in the scene where the Governor of New York gave a $200,000 check to her son who made sure that the "Yiddish Theater" will survive into the future.

Mazel Tov, Zypora. While you now belong to the ages, your beloved theater survives to this da

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