ONLINEVirtual Play: “You Will Not Play Wagner”

Top Pick November 16, 2021 Free
Ofek Cohen as Yakov in “You Will Not Play Wagner” (Courtesy Jewish Arts Collaborative)
Ofek Cohen as Yakov in “You Will Not Play Wagner” (Courtesy Jewish Arts Collaborative)

Ever since the Holocaust, performing works by composer Richard Wagner has been taboo in Israel. Wagner’s antisemitism and the use of his music by the Nazis are well-known. This unofficial ban has been challenged—unsuccessfully—by acclaimed Israeli conductors Zubin Meta and Daniel Barenboim, and opposition to Wagner’s music remains steadfast.

“You Will Not Play Wagner” takes place across Boston, New York and Tel Aviv as we Zoom across the world in a COVID-19 world. Ya’akov, a young Israeli upstart, causes a storm by selecting to perform Wagner in the finals of an international competition for conductors. He comes into conflict with Esther, Holocaust survivor and competition patron, who has her own tragic connection with Wagner’s music, and Morris, the competition organizer.

Their arguments push the competition to the brink and set Israeli society on edge. Should Ya’akov play Wagner? Should the politics of his music interfere with the quality of his art? To what extent do we honor the memory of the Holocaust, its survivors and their descendants, without stifling the next generation? And would a Jewish Israeli conducting Wagner be treachery or triumph?

This filmed play was adapted for Zoom by South African playwright Victor Gordon just before he died from COVID-19. This film is in his memory.

“You Will Not Play Wagner” is an original virtual play created by JArts TheaterWorks, directed and produced by Lilila Levitina and starring Annette Miller, Avi Hoffman and Ofek Cohen.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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