An Incisive Play About Hasidism, With Actors Who Lived It

An Incisive Play About Hasidism, With Actors Who Lived It

March 12, 2017 – New York Times

Melissa Weisz, a working actress in Manhattan, did not exactly grow up a drama club kid.

Lately, she has found herself among other Hasidic exiles, speaking Yiddish and struggling with the strict rules of Orthodox Judaism.

They are part of the cast of “God of Vengeance,” Sholem Asch’s 1907 play, which is being revived by the New Yiddish Repertory Company. “God of Vengeance” is the professional stage debut for the five Hasidic exiles. Having grown up speaking primarily Yiddish, they were natural choices for the play, which offers projected English subtitles for the audience.

On a deeper level, their personal stories of shaking off the strong bonds of Hasidic life have helped them connect with the essence of their characters and the poignant themes of the play, said Ms. Weisz, who called her Hasidic upbringing “my background for my character.”

“There’s a depth that we bring to the show,” she said. “To have the complete break of losing your family, that loss. Nobody else can play it as intensely.”

Read the full article here.