Friday, November 14, 2008

Blue Cat Cabaret

Last night, Daniel and I made our way over to Yung Yiddish for a night of entertainment - and were surprised and delighted by the performance we saw there. "Di Bloye Katz" (pictured ablove) a performance of reenactment of 1920's cabaret was tremendously entertaining. The couple performing Ruth Levin (vocals) and Avishai Fisz (piano), perform under the personas of Ewa Przyżiszka - a melodramatic primadona in a flapper outfit complete with a black peacock feather on her hat and a long, black cigarette holder dangling from her black lace gloved hand, and Arturo Fogacz-Bergamescu, a clumsy pianist who supplies masterful music, but interrupts it with his adoring outbursts of emotion in reaction to Przyziszka's songs. In between her songs, Pryzysiska narrates the concert in a heavily Polish accented English, complete with the deep sighs, pregnant pauses, and dramatic tonality of an exotic European sophisticate playing to an audience of admirers. She spoke in short, terse sentences that were drawn out to full melodramatic effect: "Why do I have misfortune? Why do I have not luck?..." or "No one recognizes my lonliness" or "sex appeal, it is a nice feeling, but now I will sing a song about a feeling which is more nice: love." Her physical movements are reminiscent of old silent films - big arm gestures, eyes open wide and fluttering or blinking, putting her hand dramatically to her ear when she hears something, throwing her head back and pressing the back of her hand to her forehead as though she will faint, and more - all emphasizing her long slender arms, and her big eyes made more dramatic with dark mascara. All of the pieces were sung in Yiddish, and they were love songs, songs of sorrow, and songs of lonliness. The show opened and closed with a song titled "Sex Appeal," which Pryzyziskzka sang with coy smirks, rolled eyes, and fingers spread wide in jazzy hands. In between pieces the pianist would clap, cry, and laugh at inappropriate times, hit notes on the piano 'accidentally' during the narration, and drop things behind the piano that he then walked around and picked up. He, with his untied bow tie, pince-nez glasses, and deadpan face, was certainly one of the highlites of the show. The entire performance was a unpredictable, unforgettable and thoughrally enjoyable blend of physical comedy, historical reenactment, dramatic flair, and plain old good music. "Di Bloye Katz" played to a packed audience of all ages, and the performance was a definite hit.

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