"Circus Jews Under National Socialism"
The true stories of Jewish circus artists between the world wars are told with sensitivity and humor by Stav Meishar, a circus artist and academic.
The lecture is based on over seven years of extensive research and combines photos from personal albums, recorded testimonies, and personal stories. Additionally, Meishar will present excerpts from her show "The Escape Act", a show based on one of the stories she uncovered–that of a Jewish acrobat who survived the Holocaust hiding in a German circus.
This event will explore the lives of Jewish circus artists in Germany from 1880-1945 and the process of transforming historical research into performance. Join us for a glimpse into a little-known colorful and fascinating world!
From "Angels in America" to "Transparent", from "Bent" to "Yentl", we will explore the intersection of Jewish identities and queer identities in film and television. Are these identities separate or influence each other? Do they stand in juxtaposition or do they complement each other? What does it mean for these characters to be Jewish AND Queer, and how does it shape their trajectories?
We will watch excerpts from these works (may contain spoilers) and analyse these questions together using biblical, contemporary and academic texts.
*This talk is also available as a 8-12 week course for high school or university students, extending to include film, TV, theater and musical theatre.
In 1959 came "The Sounds of Music" - a sweet tale of a singing family, but also a stark portrayal of the Nazi threat at a time when it was still uncommon to see these atrocities. In 1966 the revolutionary musical "Cabaret" went a step further by putting the Holocaust at its center - not only does it not have the typical happy ending, but it also utilized cynical and bold ways of expressing Nazi hatred propaganda. A few decades later, Mel Brooks adapted his film "The Producers" (1967) into a musical, fulfilling his dream of getting revenge on Hitler using a weapon that has been using his whole life - humor.
What serious disagreements arose about the display of swastikas and hand-raised on the stage of "music sounds"? Why were Jewish cabaret creators accused of anti-Semitism? And is there any reason to regard the Holocaust with humor? We will watch excerpts from these works and analyse these questions together.
Stav holds a BFA in Musical Theatre and will perform songs from these musicals - all are welcome to sing along.
© 2020 Stav Meishar