“Waiting for Godot” in Yiddish to play at the Royal Swedish Theater – The Forward


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The Swedish National Theater, Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm, ordered the Congress for Jewish Culture to stage the play by Samuel Beckett, “Waiting for Godot” in Yiddish on November 13 and 14.

This will be the first Yiddish production in the history of the Swedish national stage for “spoken theater”, a venerable institution founded in 1788. All performances will be accompanied by Swedish surtitles.

The Yiddish version of Beckett’s existential play, translated by the actor and Congress Director for Jewish Culture, Shane baker, has received critically acclaimed when it was first staged Off Broadway in 2013.

“Vartn af Godot”, as the Yiddish production is called, is directed by Moshe Assur and stars the writer and speaker, Michel wex, like Estrogan, and Baker like Vladimir. The production will also include actors Allen Lewis Rickman, Luzer Twersky and Nicolas Jenkins.

Although news of the production wasn’t announced until last week, both performances sold out. As a result, a third performance has been added.

Actors who made their professional debuts at the Royal Dramatic Theater in Sweden include Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson and Ingmar Bergman. Housed in a spectacular Art Nouveau building, the Royal Dramatic Theater also presented August Strindberg’s latest dramatic works.

Yiddish has surprising roots in Sweden, which had a large Jewish population since the late 18th century. During World War II, Sweden served as a refuge for almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark. After the war, thousands of Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jews arrived or passed through Sweden, which had a significant impact on the country.

Today, Sweden is home to a number of Jewish and Yiddish cultural organizations, including the Sveriges Jiddishförbund (Swedish Yiddish Association) and Judisk kultur i Sverige (Jewish culture in Sweden). The two organizations are teaming up with the Royal Dramatic Theater to stage the Yiddish play.

In 1999, Yiddish was proclaimed one of the five official minority languages ​​in Sweden. Today, Sweden has the distinction of supporting a number of Yiddish events and institutions, including a Yiddish publishing house, [“Olniansky Tekst Farlag”](https://olniansky.com/about-us/ – in large part thanks to government support and official recognition of the language.

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