Winner of seven Molieres, the Pulitzer Prize of France, Jean-Claude Grumberg is one of France's leading dramatists and a distinguished voice of modern European Jewry after the Shoah. His success in portraying contemporary Parisian Jews on the stage represents a new development in European theater and a new aesthetic expression of European Jewish experience and sensibility of the Holocaust and its aftermath, a perspective quite different from either the American or the Israeli one. Grumberg's Jews are French to their fingertips, yet they have been made more consciously Jewish by the war and the difficulties of reintegrating into a society in which too many neighbors denounced them or ignored their pleas to save their children. Affirming the new status of Jewish culture, Grumberg's plays insist on the recognition of Jewish identity and uniqueness within the majority societies of Europe. This volume offers the first English translation of three of Grumberg's prize-winning plays: The Workplace (L'Atelier, 1979), On the Way to the Promised Land (Vers toi Terre promise, 2006) and Mama's Coming Back, Poor Orphan (Maman revient, pauvre orphelin, 1994).
Presented in the order of the history they record and steeped in Grumberg's personal experience and insights into contemporary Parisian life, these plays serve as documentary witnesses that begin with the immediate postwar reality and continue up to the end of the twentieth century. Seth Wolitz provides notes on the plays' themes, structures, characters, and settings, along with an introduction that discusses Grumberg's place within the emergence of French-Jewish drama and a translation of an interview with the playwright himself.
JEAN-CLAUDE GRUMBERG has been a successful man of theater for over forty years as a playwright of thirty plays, an actor, a film screenwriter for Truffaut (The Last Metro) and Costa-Gavras (Amen), a writer of eight children's plays and stories, and even a stage director. He has won the Grand Prix for theater from the Academie Francaise, and he has been honored by having his plays performed on the stage of the French National Theater, the Comedie Francaise, and L'Odeon, as well as having his plays studied as part of the curriculum in the French public school system. SETH WOLITZ is L. D., Marie, and Edwin Gale Chair Emeritus of Jewish Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has also served as Professor of Comparative Literature and Theatre and Professor of French and Slavic. His books include The Songs of Bernard de Ventadorn, The Proustian Community, and The Hidden Isaac Bashevis Singer. He has also written many articles on Jewish/Yiddish theater and especially on Ansky's The Dybbuk.
Acknowledgments Three French Jewish Plays of Jean-Claude Grumberg: A Theatre of Memory and Accommodation Jean-Claude Grumberg: A Timeline of Key Works and Life Events The Plays The Workplace On the Way to the Promised Land: A Dental Tragedy Mama's Coming Back, Poor Orphan An Interview with Jean-Claude Grumberg Selected Bibliography
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