A deeply macabre and wickedly funny “anti-elegy,” Levin’s rumination on death, decomposition, and the afterlife is at once flagrant and tender, graceful and perverse. The poem, says translator Atar Hadari, is “a look at death by someone who very much did not believe in the ‘afterlife,’ but nevertheless saw and expressed all the hopes which even the most irreligious keep in the deepest, most secret closets of their hearts.”
Directed by Valerie Jean Johnson (managing editor of Poetry), a talented ensemble of young Chicago performing artists bring Levin’s captivating poem to the stage.
What: A theatrical interpretation of Hanoch Levin’s “Lives of the Dead,” conceived and directed by Valerie Jean Johnson, devised and performed by Katie Eberhardy, Joshua Kent, Martine Moore, and Jessie Mutz, with sound design by Noé Cuéller
When: Eight performances
Thursday, September 30, to Sunday, October 10
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7pm
Sundays at 3pm
Where: Viaduct Theater
3111 North Western Avenue
Free admission; reserve tickets by calling 773.296.6024 or visitingwww.viaducttheatre.com
Hanoch Levin (1943–1999), one of Israel’s leading dramatists, was born in Tel Aviv and studied philosophy and literature at Tel Aviv University. Having originally focused on writing poetry, Levin eventually devoted himself to writing for the stage. He served as resident playwright of the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv and worked with Habimah, Israel’s national theater. A writer of 50 plays (34 of which have been staged), including comedies, tragedies, and satiric cabarets, Levin directed most of his works himself. He published five books of short stories and poems and a book for children, received numerous theater awards, both in Israel and abroad (most notably at the Edinburgh Festival), and has had his plays staged around the world. Levin was awarded the Bialik Prize in 1994.
Atar Hadari was born in Israel, grew up in England, and studied poetry and playwriting with Derek Walcott at Boston University. His Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of Hayim Nahman Bialik (Syracuse University Press, 2000) was shortlisted for the American Literary Translators Association Award. His poems have won the New England Poetry Club’s Daniel Varoujan Award and the Grolier Poetry Prize.
Hadari’s translation of Levin’s poem was first published byPoetry in May 2009.