Posted on: 28 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

A haunting Jewish tale at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival.

In Jewish folklore a dybbuk is a restless dead soul that inhabits a living person. In Krzysztof Warlikowski’s Polish language production Dybbuk (King’s Theatre), based on a play by Szymon Anski and a short story by Hanna Krall, a woman is possessed by the spirit of her true love on her wedding day, and the suffering soul of a Holocaust victim takes over the body of his American half-brother.

Although in essence the narrative is quite straightforward it is made confusing by the beautiful, yet often impenetrable language and symbolism of Jewish mysticism. In addition Warlikowski fails to unify the traditional story with Krall’s modern meditation on Holocaust guilt.

Yet visually the production is an eye opener with an imaginative use of Perspex screens, striking tableaux, unsettling music and animations of strange beasts making their way through ornate foliage, all of which chillingly evoke the supernatural.

By Laurence Green

Web Links

www.eif.co.uk - Edinburgh International Festival website

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