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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

The King of Lampedusa by S. J. Harendorf  Event

The King of Lampedusa on stage 1944
24 June 2021

For more information regarding this event, please email Clodagh Owens at .

Event details

The event will feature a rehearsed reading of an excerpt from the opening act of The King of Lampedusa. The reading will take place on Zoom and will feature an international cast assembled by Helen Beer. The play will be performed in Yiddish with English translation provided, and both the Yiddish text and English adaptations have been taken from Heather Valencia’s 2003 translation.

About the event 

The King of Lampedusa (דער קעניג פֿון לאַמפּעדוסע) tells the incredible story of an Italian garrison surrendering to a young Jewish pilot from the East End of London when he landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa during the Second World War. RAF Flight Sergeant Sidney Cohen became a hero back home and his story was turned into a hit musical. 
The Parkes Institute is thrilled to present this opportunity to preview The King of Lampedusa in Yiddish before our planned full-scale Yiddish performance in spring 2022. Join us on 24 June for a taste of Yiddish theatre as we present an excerpt from the 1940s smash-hit play The King of Lampedusa, performed in Yiddish with English subtitles. The digital reading, directed by Helen Beer (University College London), will feature a short rehearsed reading from the opening act of the play, introduced by the play’s adaptor and translator Heather Valencia (University of Stirling), and researcher of Yiddish theatre in London, Katie Power (University of Southampton). The reading will be accompanied by music adapted from the original score by Abaigh McKee (University of Southampton).

Directed by Dr Helen Beer
English Translation by Dr Heather Valencia
Adapted by Dr Heather Valencia  
Introductions by Dr Heather Valencia and Katie Power
Music adapted from the original score by Dr Abaigh McKee
Chaired by Dr Claire Le Foll

The Cast

  • Sam: Simo Muir
  • Khatskl: Steve Ogin
  • Sore-Hinde: Vanora Bennett
  • Dave: James Holz
  • Lily: Rachel Weston
  • Itshe Meir: Michael Shapiro
  • Bezkhike: Tamara Gleason Freidberg
  • Ayzik Allrightnik: Irving Igra
  • Becky Allrightnik: Vivi Lachs
  • Mike Kuku: Jan Podlaski
  • Narrator: Helen Beer
  • Voices: Nogah Wilson
  • Italian Officer: Irving Igra

Feature image is a photograph of Meier Tzelniker (Khatskl), Anna Tzelniker (Lily), and Clara Meisels (Sore-Hinde) on stage during a performance of The King of Lampedusa, 1944.

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