– in development –
The Merchant of Venice (Annotated), or
In Sooth I Know Not Why I Am So Sad
Premiered in Los Angeles May 12, 2023 in Shatto Chapel at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
Following the limited two-week run in Los Angeles, the show embarks on a North American tour to locations including:
San Diego Region June, 2023
San Francisco Bay Area September, 2023
Portland, OR October, 2023
Baltimore, MD January, 2024
The Villainy You Teach
Created by theatre dybbuk and presented in collaboration with Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and the Philosophical Research Society on March 2, 2023 in the library at the Philosophical Research Society. The Villainy You Teach is a companion piece to The Merchant of Venice (Annotated), or In Sooth I Know Not Why I Am So Sad.
other projects in development
Originally programmed to open in the summer of 2020, the pandemic delayed our completion of the project. We continued with development throughout the pandemic, and in lieu of a full production, the show will now have performed reading engagements accompanied by discussions.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Why do conspiracy theories arise and in what ways do they show up at times of great crisis and upheaval in society? And what are the motivations and forces underpinning their proliferation?
In breaking protocols, we examine the quintessential antisemitic text, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," while exploring contemporary issues connected to racism, propaganda, and false narratives.
As with all of theatre dybbuk's works, breaking protocols will be rich in poetic text, choreographed movement, and original music.
breaking protocols is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project, co-commissioned by Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and The Hive at Leichtag Commons.
Virtual events were presented in 2020 via Zoom in partnership with LACE (April 25), The Hive at Leichtag Commons (May 13), Oshman Family JCC Arts and Dialogues (June 18), and Musée du Montréal juif - Museum of Jewish Montreal (December 15) . All events included performed readings of in-process script selections and Q&As; the Hive, LACE, and Museum of Jewish Montreal events also included writing workshops exploring themes in the show.
The presentation with LACE was supported in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
THE IN-PROCESS PRESENTATION TEAM
Written and Directed by Aaron Henne
Assistant Director (LACE and Hive events): Tova Katz
Solly – Joe Jordan
Essie – Julie A. Lockhart
Ruthie – Diana Tanaka
breaking protocols background and history
So...What Is/Are "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"?
Supposedly the record of secret meetings of Jewish leaders, "The Protocols" describes an alleged conspiracy to dominate the world. It has become a touchpoint and source of inspiration for antisemitic movements world-wide. The document – which has been proven fraudulent – does not indicate when or where the meetings took place, who attended, or its authorship.
An abbreviated version of "The Protocols" was first published in 1903 in the St. Petersburg newspaper Znamya (The Banner). The editor of Znamya, Pavel Krushevan, was an outspoken antisemite.
"The Protocols" were first published in full in 1905 as an appendix to the book The Great in the Small and the Antichrist as an Imminent Political Possibility by Sergei Nilus.
The Authorship Question
Steven J. Zipperstein in his book, Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History (2018), argues that Pavel Krushevan ("The Protocols" first publisher) is the probable author, either on his own or with others, of the fraudulent work. The antisemitic rhetoric that Krushevan published in his newspaper, Znamya, likely helped to fuel the Kishinev pogrom. Krushevan was also associated with the Black Hundreds, an ultra-nationalist movement in Russia in the early 20th century. The Black Hundreds opposed any retreat from the autocratic rule of the reigning monarch and was known to have used violence against those who were believed to be a threat to the Tsar.
Another theory – though one that is largely rejected in current scholarship – points the authorship of "The Protocols" to Matvei (a.k.a. Mathieu) Golovinski as a part of a monarchist scheme to persuade Tsar Nicholas II that the capitalist modernization of Russia was really a Jewish plot to control the world. Golovinski was said to be working in Paris under the direction of Pyotr Rachkovsky – the chief of the Russian imperial secret service (the Okhrana) who was based in Paris from 1884-1902.
Plagiarism within "The Protocols"
Sections of "The Protocols" were plagiarized from an earlier text by French attorney and political writer Maurice Joly. In 1864, Joly published the political satire Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu in protest against the regime of Napoleon III.
This plagiarism was brought to light by Irish journalist Philip Graves in a series of articles in The Times of London in 1921. These articles were the first to expose "The Protocols" as an antisemitic forgery.
learn more about "The Protocols"
The Dybbukast, Episode 5: "The Protocols, Henry Ford, and The International Jew"
Co-produced with the Association for Jewish Studies, episode five of our podcast explores Henry Ford’s publication of The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, a four volume series containing newspaper articles which were originally published from 1920-1922. These writings were based on – and included elements of – the notorious, fraudulent text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The episode is co-hosted by Aaron Henne and Jeremy Shere and features scholarship from Dr. Pamela Nadell and Dr. Lisa Leff. You can listen on the player below.
Primary Source, Episode 2: "The Protocols of The Elders of Zion"
Primary Source, a podcast from the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford University, has an episode on "The Protocols" which asks, "What does the storming of the Capitol building, a Hungarian billionaire, mass shootings, and 4Chan have to do with a forged Russian text that’s more than 100 years old?" You can listen to that episode at primarysourcepodcast.com.
"The Conspiracy Theory to Rule Them All" by Steven J. Zipperstein, published in The Atlantic
So...how do we create a new work?
Each theatre dybbuk work is conceived by Artistic Director Aaron Henne and created with the ensemble. The process begins with internal research and then takes up to three years from the first group meeting to opening night.
In the first phase of the process, we have around a dozen script development meetings with the writer/director, dramaturg, composer, actors, designers, and a scholar.
We also have regular physical development sessions – meeting two to three times a month – with the actors, writer/director, choreographer, and other leaders of stylized performance, such as a mask and puppet designer.
As the script development concludes, a brief workshop phase begins where we experiment with choreography, music, and other show-specific performance elements such as shadow work, mask work, and puppetry. We also refine the script.
In the final four weeks leading up to opening night, we take what we learned during the workshop period and "set" the script, music, and various staging elements. While the script and staging may continue to change up until opening night, this final stage is a process of refining all that we have created up until then.