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hell prepared

a ritual exorcism inspired by kabbalistic principles, performed within a dominant cultural context

theatre dybbuk's hell prepared: a ritual exorcism inspired by kabbalistic principles, performed within a dominant cultural context

THE SHOW

Enter the gates of the Venician Ghetto of the 17th century and go on a journey of dominance, separation, and survival that spirals down through the pits of Gehenna. hell prepared: a ritual exorcism inspired by kabbalistic principles, performed within a dominant cultural context takes place in multiple locations on the campus of the Philosophical Research Society, allowing you to be immersed in the secluded world of the Ghetto and dissolve into places beyond the corporeal.

Featuring a landscape of choreographed movement, poetic text, shadow puppetry, and choral scoring, hell prepared follows a spiritual leader as he endeavors to exorcise the dominant culture and its influence on his world. In the process, he is driven down through the pits of hell where he sees visions of a challenging past and an uncertain future.

The project is inspired by "Tofteh Arukh," a dramatic poem written in the 17th century from within the Jewish ghettos of Italy by rabbi, poet, and mystic Moses ben Mordecai Zacuto. 

The performance incorporates choreography by Kai Hazelwood, shadow work and production design by Leslie K. Gray, and a live vocal score composed by Fahad Siadat in collaboration with Michael Jay Skloff. The production is written and directed by theatre dybbuk's artistic director, Aaron Henne, and was developed with the ensemble. The play features a cast of three performing alongside a vocal sextet.

photos by Taso Papadakis

THE TEAM

Written and Directed by Aaron Henne

Developed with Martín Carrillo, Leslie K. Gray, Kai Hazelwood, Erith Jaffe-Berg, Julie A. Lockhart, Flori Schutzer, Fahad Siadat, Michael Jay Skloff, Dylan Southard, Diana Tanaka, and Jonathan C.K. Williams

Inspired by an English translation of Moses Zacuto's "Tofteh Arukh" by Michela Andreatta, PhD

Conceived in collaboration with Erith Jaffe-Berg, PhD

Cast:

Moshe – Jonathan C.K. Williams

Sarah – Julie A. Lockhart

Dybbuk – Diana Tanaka

 

Members of the Confraternity / Vocal Ensemble:

Monika Beal, David Conley, Molly Pease, Rebecca Rasmussen, David Saldaña, Fahad Siadat

 

Stage Manager: Danny Crisp
Choreographer / Movement Director: Kai Hazelwood
Composer / Music Director: Fahad Siadat

Music Consultant: Michael Jay Skloff

Lighting Designer: Brandon Baruch
Sound Designer: Martín Carrillo
Production Designer: Leslie K. Gray

Costume Designer: Kathryn Poppen

Technical Director: Bobby Gutierrez

Dramaturg: Dylan Southard

Assistant Director: Gabrielle Bonder

Assistant Stage Manager: Adrienne Johnson-Lister

Sound Mixer: Christopher Bosco

SCENES (AND SOUNDS) FROM THE PROCESS

hell prepared
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THE HISTORY

In 17th century Italy, rabbi, poet, and Kabbalist Moses ben Mordecai Zacuto wrote "Tofteh Arukh," a dramatic poem exploring a journey into hell from a Jewish perspective.

Born in Amsterdam, Zacuto traveled to Poland then ventured to Padua, Venice, and Mantua. Zacuto likely began