Death of A Salesman in Yiddish (with English Super-Titles)



Death of a Salesman is an American classic. In this new production by the New Yiddish Rep of New York City, Arthur Miller’s play achieves further resonance by being performed entirely in Yiddish, with English supertitles projected onstage. The Yiddish locates the play squarely in the world of the immigrant, and Willy Loman is no longer just the universal white collar worker with a shoe shine and a smile; he is also the universal immigrant, charged to teach the values of his adopted land to his second generation children, with all the urgency that that mission requires.

The supertitles are unobtrusive, and non-Yiddish speaking audiences will understand every single word. The intimate theater space highlights the dramatic tensions in the play. This is a very good production of a very powerful play. Click on the gray triangle above to hear my complete review broadcast on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI.

Update: You can hear my interview with the director of the cast, Moshe Yassur, and actor Avi Hoffman, by clicking here.

2 thoughts on “Death of A Salesman in Yiddish (with English Super-Titles)

  1. Thanks, Pearl! I read your comments on Facebook and see that many Yiddish speakers felt, like you, that while the actors may have spoken in Yiddish, the actual Yiddish culture was missing from this production. That’s a fair point, and I wonder how much of that could have been added within the limits of the script?

    I was thinking about Miller’s later play, A View From the Bridge, after I wrote that review. In that play, he takes up the immigrant experience head-on, and the characters are all Italian immigrants. Interesting that he made them Italian, and not Russian or German Jews. Perhaps as a writer it was easier for him to tell that story from a distance.

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