In this piece, Los Angeles-based company theatre dybbuk (www.theatredybbuk.org/), in collaboration with the Center for Jewish Culture, Leichtag Foundation, and the New School of Architecture and Design, creates a unique theatre/dance/architecture work, which aligns with the Festival of Sukkot and was inspired by the ritual of Hakhel. This video, documenting the performance of the piece and its creation, was commissioned by Interfictions.
Sukkot: A Jewish feast of ingathering in which people eat and sleep in a Sukkah (temporary hut) to simultaneously recall the temporary structures in which those who wandered in the desert lived as well as the dwellings in which farmers would reside during harvesting.
Sh’mita: An ancient tradition, in which, every seventh year, the people of Israel would let their lands lie fallow and agricultural activity would cease. This would serve as an opportunity for the land to rest and to be rejuvenated.
Hakhel: An ancient ritual, occurring at the end of Sh’mita cycle, in which all of the Jewish people would assemble in Jerusalem to hear the King read selections from the Torah. The readings would encourage the population to start cultivating once again, approaching all they do in a more mindful and committed manner.
Assemble: A modern spin on Hakhel, at the end of the recent Sh’mita year, in which we utilize language, dance and song to investigate the ways in which we can all bring about positive change for ourselves, for those who surround us and for the whole Earth.
The live performance of Assemble was presented at the Leichtag Foundation Property in Encinitas, CA, as part of the “Sukkot Harvest Festival”, an agricultural festival celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Learn more at leichtag.org.
Conceived by Center for Jewish Culture and Leichtag Foundation
Created by theatre dybbuk
Original Sukkah by New School of Architecture and Design
Written and Directed by Aaron Henne
Developed with the Performers: Nina Bowers, Nick Greene, Kai Hazelwood, Julie Lockhart, Rebecca Rasmussen, Clay Steakley
Choreography: Kai Hazelwood
Musical Composition: Nick Greene, Rebecca Rasmussen and Clay Steakley, with the Ensemble
Costume Designer: Bert Henert
Dramaturg: Dylan Southard
Rehearsal Stage Manager: Erric Sisneros-Ramirez
Special thanks to Michael Gropper, for instructing theatre dybbuk in the ways of blowing shofar.
Video Design and Editing: Terence Taylor