As we count down to the UK premiere of Saul Reichlin’s Sholom Aleichem in the Old Country, we love that Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon also caught up with Saul about his latest one-man show inspired by the legendary Jewish storyteller. Read Emma’s interview – and then get booking!
Sholom Aleichem in the Old Country, adapted and performed by award-winning stage and screen actor Saul Reichlin, gets its UK premiere in a strictly limited, four-week season at London’s Lion & Unicorn Theatre from 30 October to 25 November 2018.
Saul Reichlin has won international acclaim for his previous one-man plays of Yiddish tales: Sholom Aleichem – Now You’re Talking!, Roots Shmoots and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s masterpiece Gimpel the Fool. Reichlin toured his first adaptation of Aleichem’s work, Now You’re Talking!, for more than five years, playing to full houses in 36 cities in eight countries. This included hit runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, London’s King’s Head Theatre and Off-Broadway.
Now, 15 years after he first brought Aleichem’s work to life, in the first stage adaptation of the writer’s stories since the 1964 premiere of the classic 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, Reichlin returns with this new stage show, abundant in all the wisdom and humour of the shtetl, told from the perspective of Sholom Aleichem himself.
Sholom Aleichem in the Old Country runs 30 October to 25 November 2018 at the Lion& Unicorn Theatre, 42-44 Gaisford St, London NW5 2ED. Performances (75 minutes) run Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, with Sunday matinees at 6pm. Tickets are priced £14 (concessions £12). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
What’s Sholom Aleichem in the Old Country about?
This production, uniquely, follows the adventures of Sholom Aleichem himself. Previously life was seen through the eyes of his characters, made famous to the world at large by Fiddler On The Roof, but before that, known and loved by the Jewish population who had his stories read to them (in Yiddish) and who adored him.
How did the idea for an Aleichem stage show come about?
As a child I was taken by my parents to see an actor perform Sholom Aleichem, but it was only many years later, when I found a little book of the stories, that I thought this might suit my one-man show work, and so it has proved.
How are you feeling about this new show getting its UK premiere?
I feel a responsibility I did not feel before, because I have the success of the first show to live up to, and once again it is new material, with only my belief in its simply wonderful writing to recommend it.
What is it about Sholom Aleichem that fascinates you?
No matter how dreadful life can be, as indeed it was for his generation in Tsarist Russia, he never lost the ability to bring the warmth and humour of his work to everyone, to give people something to smile about. When one of his characters was recounting tales of the Cossack pogroms (slaughter of Jews) another character replies, ‘But enough of all those depressing stories, lets talk of more cheerful things. How’s the cholera in Odessa these days?’.
What do you think that audiences will take away the show?
I hope they will have an experience similar to the audiences of the first show, just glowing, and happy they saw the show, and eager to tell others about it!
What can audiences expect?
The story is a visit to another time, another place. In this case, it is Kasrilevke, the Anatevka of Fiddler on the Roof, from which so many of us, myself included, emanate. Life in the West (for the Jewish population, anyway) owes its existence largely to the generations of East European Jews who escaped persecution. It is a glimpse of what life might have been like for them, if they survived. It is a brief return to our Roots, and a look at what might have been.
Sholom Aleichem in the Old Country runs 30 October to 25 November 2018 at the Lion& Unicorn Theatre, 42-44 Gaisford St, London NW5 2ED. Performances (75 minutes) run Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 1pm and 5pm. Tickets are priced £14 (concessions £12). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!