Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Motke Ganev, a very famous Yiddish play about crooks and whores, is back in production at the University Settlement Theater on Eldridge Street.

For those not in the know, the play tells the story of a grasping, hotheaded thug named Motke, who runs away from the shtetle to join the circus. After falling in love with a gentile acrobat [Seinfeld reference: "A gymnast, Jerry. Think of the flexibility!] our hero heads to Warsaw where he surrounds himself with prostitutes and other mob figures before a respectable Jewish girl, and his mother's love, convince him to change his ways.

The play was a big hit on the Lower East Side during the 20s. I don't think the summer camps or seminaries, though, have ever put it into a production, which is a shame: Anything that reduces our tendancy to romanticize Poland should be supported.