Drama Club

Unsentimental Story of Soviet Jews after the Holocaust
2021 Production of the Drama Club - “Berdichev/The Family that Never Was” by F. Gorenstein
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Theatrical project Berdichev 
Berdichev is a city in Central Ukraine where Nazi invaders, intent on genocide during the Second World War, eliminated the entire Jewish population.  Following the Holocaust, Gorenstein witnessed the decline and diminishment of Jewish culture and character in Soviet society.  He selected Berdichev as a symbolic Jewish town for the play, and based the characters on his own family and memories.

The play presents 30 years in the everyday life of a Jewish family after the Holocaust (1945 to 1975), as two sisters, Rachel and Golda, guide their family through hard years of poverty and strife.  It is an unsentimental story about post-Holocaust Jews, separated from their culture, history and people, who nonetheless survive through laughter and tears.  

The intended aim of performing Berdichev is to give the audience a broader perception of themselves, immersing them in a different time and culture to instill new insights into history and human connections across time.  In addition we hope to use this opportunity to generate a collaborative community effort that might renew awareness of the Holocaust to a younger generation of Americans and help examine its impact on twenty-first century life.

A sneak peek into the show
Berdichev collageAs a sneak peek into the show, you can see some stage photos. Tickets are online only! Don't forget to keep your tickets handy, either in the Eventbrite app or print out and bring them with you. Face masks must be worn. The show on Friday January 21 is FREE of charge. Register your free tickets online before the show, no tickets available at the door. To implement social distancinglimiting seating will be placed. The theater’s layout will be changed to ensure that all attendees parties remain at least 6ft apart. Admission free; donations appreciated!

Editorial article about Berdichev Show at The Spotlight News 518 
Michael Hallisey, managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers recently wrote an article about the Berdichev theatrical project. You can read it here.

The American cast starts rehearsing at the Golub theater
Milya and SergejRachelOn January 12 the American cast had preliminary dress rehearsing in the Neil and Jane Golub Theater with focus on costume issues. This is an opportunity to correct any remaining costume and tech issues.


Tech Rehearsal 
Bruce Coonley lighting specialistNo one needs to act -- this rehearsal is for the tech staff. On the technical rehearsal on Janaury 6 Oleg, artistic director, with Bruce Coonley, Lighting director at Proctor's Theatre, and some members of the cast walk through the entire show in performance order, making sure every light cue, sound effect works as planned. This means stopping hundreds of times to make adjustments. 

first readingBerdichev project: 
The Russian cast does a table read

On Thursday 28 October 2021 we had the first meeting of the actors with the director Oleg Golub. It was a reading of the 1st act of the play. Oleg explained his impressive directorial plan for staging the play and proposed a new title for the play “The Family that never was/Семья которой не было”. ( We are not sure that it’s the best translation from Russian). There was the distribution of the roles. Several major roles still available for men and women. Also we need 2 boys and 2 girls (9 years old and older).  


1st rehearsalBerdichev project: Russian cast starts rehearsing
On Monday November 1st 2021 the Russian cast started rehearsing with artistic director Oleg Golub. The rehearsal time for Oleg is 5 hours straight. Actors are practising only for 1 hour for the episodes they are in.



American CastBerdichev project: American cast starts rehearsing
On Monday November 15th, two weeks later the Russian team, Americancast started rehearsing with artistic director Oleg Golub.The location was changed. One member of the Russian-speaking community (who wants to be incognito) provided for the play production recently bought a house in downtown Albany. House is empty, warm with a large bright room suitable for practicing. Thank you!

American team copyBerdichev project: stage props.  Props are the items held or used by actors onstage to make the action more realistic.Berdichev's show uses not many props but for staging a drama it is really necessary to have some. To identify a particular time, place and cultural setting in the play a few set props are needed: a wooden table 8-10ft long, wooden old chairs, old suitcases and old leather shoes (men, ladies and kids). If you would provide these props for the show; it will be greatly appreciated. We are already very thankful to Sofia Stolkarts for providing the Russian fur hat with earflaps (ушанка), to Anton Pasquvel for vintage patephone (phonograph) and retro radio receiver. Alik Gans made a prop lamp; he painted and electrified it. 

The purpose of the Russian Drama Club is to educate and foster an appreciation for the theater arts among the Russian-speaking community in the Capital Region of New York State. Preserve, enrich and celebrate the use of the Russian language as a vehicle of cultural communication and understanding.

We provide encouragement for all levels of volunteer involvement and recognize their contributions as crucial to the success of the Russian Drama Club productions. We provide a supportive environment where everyone is welcome, regardless of skill level, ability or background. Volunteers are essential to the success of the Russian Drama Club.

The Russian Drama Studio at the New Russia Cultural Center was established in 2013 with theatrical performances for children for “Morozko” and “Microscope” for adult audiences. Yuri Naumkin became an artistic director of the Russian Drama Studio in 2014.  His artistic direction and artistic talent brought production success to two other plays.  One of them,“Tale of Tsar Saltan”, is a one-act play based on the poem by Alexander Pushkin, and performed for a children’s audience in December 2014 at the Mohawk Golf Club, Schenectady, NY. Second, was a musical/theatrical performance, “Victory Day”, devoted to the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of World War II, and performed in May 2015 at Union College, Schenectady, NY. Both plays had local media coverage with photos in the Times Union, Daily Gazette, and other local newspapers.   In Fall 2015 Yuri was directing another play for children, the “New Year Tricks of Baba Yaga”. In 2016 he directed a bilingual play "Love and Doves" for general public. In 2017 "New Year MIracles" shown for children during an Annual Yolka Celebration. The 2018 production 'Morozko" had 2 premieres on January 5th and 6th 2019.  
Cultural experience by watching authentic Russian plays
"Tsar Saltan" by A. Pushkin, Artistic Director Yuri Numkin. December, 2014
tsar saltan 2015 1 tsar saltan 2015 2 tsar saltan 2015 3 tsar saltan 2015 4 tsar saltan 2015 5 tsar saltan 2015 6
"Love and Doves" by V. Gurkin, Artistic Director Yuri Numkin. May 15, 2018

love doves nov 12 2016 1love doves nov 12 2016 3

2013 "Morozko" production photos

morozko1 morozko 4morozko 3morozko 6

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