It Can't Happen Here?
Staging Sinclair Lewis in 2020
Laura Caparrotti, Artistic Director, Kairos Italy Theater
in conversation with
Motl Didner, Associate Artistic Director, The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
On October 28, nine NYC-based theater companies - including Casa's theater company in residence Kairos Italy Theater - will join forces to present a theatrical adaptation of the 1936 classic Sinclair Lewis novel It Can't Happen Here about the rise of fascism in America. Initiated and hosted by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, the performance will present an unprecedented virtual reading in six languages (Yiddish, English, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, and Hebrew) featuring 60+ actors. KIT Artistic Director Laura Caparrotti will discuss the work and the upcoming performance with Motl Didner, Associate Artistic Director of The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.
Adapted for the stage by John C. Moffitt and Sinclair Lewis in 1936, “It Can’t Happen Here” was presented simultaneously by 21 theater companies under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Theater Project as fascism was on the rise in Europe. The work chronicles the rise of a demagogue who is elected President of the United States after fomenting fear and promising sweeping economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values. National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Israeli Artists Project, Kairos Italy Theater, New Heritage Theatre Group/Impact Repertory Theatre, New York Classical Theatre, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Playful Substance, Repertorio Español, and Turkish American Repertory Theater & Entertainment are presenting the multi-lingual reading of this landmark play to bring attention to the need for greater support of the theater industry, which has been impacted in a dramatic way during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It Can't Happen Here” is a benefit, through permission from Theatre Authority, Inc. for the nine participating theater companies as well as The Actors Fund. The reading will take place on Wednesday, October 28 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, and then only be available for viewing until Sunday, November 1 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. The event will be presented on The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s website.
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