World premiere of new Yiddish translations of two songs

By Ben Gonshor

In the fall of 2018, the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre presented A Bintl Brief, one of our most popular and produced plays.

One of the new elements we brought to this Bintl was the incorporation of music and song that weaved throughout the play. Most notable was the medley of two iconic English songs: “The Ballad of the Triangle Fire” and “Bread & Roses.” These songs commemorate the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which claimed the lives of 146 young women in March 1911, while highlighting the pioneering role that women, in particular, played in fostering political, social, labour and economic reform in its aftermath.


The medley was the high point of the play – a moment so dramatic that it is indelibly etched on our minds to this day. This could not have been foreseen, yet became so due to the unique, remarkable phenomenon that is the DWYT.

Yes, we performed the medley – but in Yiddish. It didn’t exist in Yiddish. So… how? Why? What a question. Because that’s the DWYT! And when the decision was taken, it took no time at all for the sui generis team of Aron Gonshor and Edit Kuper –  two lifelong, devoted members of the DWYT –  to deliver poetry equal to the iconic, original English lyrics.

Not everyone got to see Bintl and experience that powerful moment. Now they can.

In commemoration of those who perished and in homage to pioneering women (including the namesake of our theatre company), I have the distinct honour of presenting to you the Yiddish language world premiere video of the “Triangle Fire & Bread and Roses” medley, as performed by the DWYT.

Here is the video

Please go to this website for more information: https://www.segalcentre.org/en/triangle-fire–bread–roses

 

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