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    Defenses of Prague

    A new play by Sophia Murashkovsky, directed by the Obie-winning and Tony-nominated playwright Leslie Lee. It is a fast paced, shifting story of revenge set among the gypsies in 1968, on the brink of the Soviet invasion of Prague, in which a tormented gypsy dancer, fleeing from the Russians (who held gypsy souls in contempt), imagines a modern-day Golem which has risen to defend the ghetto. The play is a story from her dreams. A Tsiganka (Gypsy-sorceress), symbolically named Prague, finds work in a sacrilegious cabaret which is housed in a synagogue near a crowded old Jewish cemetery. There she falls under the power of its diabolical MC, who is said to be an actual descendant of the Rabbi who built the mythical 17th century Golem of Prague. Having taken him as her pimp, she learns that he had corrupted her Gypsy mother's soul as well, leaving her to wither on the streets of Prague. The Golem, protector of the ghetto, is again on the loose, her creator — the pimp — having lost control of his creation. The tale is told through cabaret performances with hypnotic dancing and mournful madrigals. The girl's mother comes to life as a Mullo (the Romani word for the "living dead"), possessing her daughter's body and hounding her tormentor, avenging her own death while protecting her daughter's precious life. Equipped with the distinct knowledge of Prague's true identity, Golem takes even greater pleasure in parading the Gypsy's scantily dressed body about the stage like some unruly animal, all the while providing the audience with biting political and social commentary on the invasion of Prague by Soviet forces and its inevitable outcome. As her dislocated soul gropes for meaning, she improvises her lyrics and melodies, imbuing them with her "Romany" identity and with unheard-of emotional intensity and depth. As the mad-with-grief Gypsy dancer metamorphosizes into an s/m prostitute, her tragic revenge against her pimp/lover lifts her — and the audience — to the brink of insanity.

    Dates:  Jan. 22, 2004 - Feb. 8, 2004
    Schedule:  Thurs.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2:30 and 8 p.m.
    Venue:  La Mama Experimental Theater, 74A East 4th St.
    Price:  $15
    Tickets/info:  (212) 475-7710


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