Jewish Ozzies' Inter.Net
The electronic voice of the Australian Jewish Community

Letters from Jewish Australia - No.55


November 6th, 1997

A season of KAFKA DANCES, by Australian playwright Timothy Daly performed by Centre Players is about to commence at the Zenith Theatre, Chatswood on Sydney's leafy North Shore.

Jenny Wandl, who has been with Centre Players since its inception in 1969, believes it is no co-incidence that this year there have been three Jewish plays at Zenith. She thinks "that can be put down to the fact that Jewish culture is so rich and theatrical - and there are so many good Jewish plays."

Here in Australia, Jews are intrinsic to the broader Australian culture, whether it be music, art or theatre. For example, the presenter of the media program, "Arts Today" (ABC National Radio) is Jewish personality Louise Adler and there are many Jews, such as Henry Szeps, Judy Cassab and Barry Kosky who are well known to the general community as great Australian artists.

It is not surprising therefore to find interest in Jewish themes and characters in an area such as Chatswood which is not notably Jewish.

Of Centre Players, Jenny says, "Our director and actors have been working on Kafka Dances for some months now, and part of the time has been spent studying Jewish theatre and customs. They find they have built up an empathy for Kafka in his struggles to find his Jewishness. And the Yiddish Theatre - an integral part of this production, is infinitely attractive to our actors, who are never afraid to go over the top when required. Our musical director, Jim McCrudden, who has written original incidental music, has always had a feeling for and interest in Jewish music, and was thrilled to be part of this project. So while none of us have Jewish roots, this production is being presented by Centre Players with a great deal of love and feeling."

Daly describes his play as "an unusual romance". He says it is "Better to try and explain the workings of people's hearts than to relate the mere chronology of their stories."

So what is KAFKA DANCES? It is comedy, it is drama - it is a wonderful introduction to the surreal life of the Yiddish Dream Theatre. It relates the progress of Kafka's relationship with Felice Bauer, whom he met just five or six times in five years while exchanging a multitude of letters with her, while he struggles with his parents and his Jewishness. It is a unique exploration of the peculiar world of Kafka, his interaction with his family and Felice, and the place where they all meet: his dreams.

KAFKA DANCES had also recently been added to the list of texts for year 12 students in NSW who are studying for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) examination. Texts are selected to give students exposure to quality examples of a range of genre. As over 60,000 students are doing their HSC this year, the inclusion of this text is guaranteed to bring an awareness of Yiddish theatre to thousands of teenagers in our community.

Sydneysiders will not want to miss KAFKA DANCES at the Zenith Theatre in Chatswood from November 7 - 22.

Exact dates - Nov. 7,8,13,14,15,19,20,21,22 at 8pm,
Sunday Nov. 16 at 5pm and Wed. Nov 19 at 11am.

Tickets are $16 - or $14 for seniors and students.

Bookings 9873 3575 or leave a message on our voice mail - 95552 0035.

Or book on e-mail - Wandl @

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