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Get Your Fix of Czech Marionette Theater at La MaMa - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Get Your Fix of Czech Marionette Theater at La MaMa


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A performance of “Golem.”
This month, the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater will perform “Golem,” which retells the Jewish legend about a golem created by a revered rabbi to defend the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks.

Vit Horejs, the director of the musical, which features eight performers handling puppets that are roughly four-foot tall, said that the story is a classic in the Czech Republic. He expected a big crowd for the performances, starting Nov. 17 at La MaMa theater on East Fourth Street.

“Every Czech child will know it,” said Mr. Horejs, 61. “People come from all walks of life to see it. A lot of people are interested in Golem.”

The production will be accompanied by live music performed by, among others, Frank London of the Klezmatics.

In the story of golem, the Rabbi Loew ben Bezalel creates the clay figure to defend the Jews of Prague, but it becomes too powerful and begins terrorizing the city.

GolemJakub Krejci Characters from “Golem.”

“It goes back to the times when puppeteering was the only live theater available in small villages,” said Mr. Horejs. “It was also an important part of the national revival, when Czech language was almost lost and suppressed by the Germans.”

In fact, the art has been used to poke fun at authority for ages.

“The Austro-Hungarian empire, the Nazis, Soviets — puppet theater was kind of under their radar,” Mr. Horejs said. “There were sly references about the regimes.”

“Golem” at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater, 66 East Fourth Street between Second Avenue and Bowery, beginning November 17. Tickets $25, visit lamama.org or call (212) 475 -7710.