Presented by Meta-Phys Ed, THE TALMUD is a genre-bending performance based on the Talmud and Kung-Fu films about the transmission of ancient traditions and sacred wisdom across generations; from teacher to student and master to disciple
The experimental theatre production of THE TALMUD takes a deep dive into the layers of talmudic text and its symbolic interplay of dance, fight, and aerobatics common to Kung Fu archetypes. Jesse Freedman's directing masters the balance of these seeming incomparable genres into a smooth aerobatic dance with a wide range of movements, mediums, and words.
Multiple veil-like drapes capture projections while passing them through to the drapes behind them, creating a secondary and sometimes tertiary display of a single image or text. Moreover, these images are often times livestreams from cameras adhered to cast members in the story gesturing to the inward circular and repetitive behavior of Rabbinic reasoning and suggesting a scale of fathomability. In contrast, the presence and self-aware nature of Kung Fu movements and transitions gestures towards a contrast of present applicability. Together, the two mediums offer a narrative of juxtaposing themes – perhaps suggesting contradictions within the behaviors of the Talmudic scripture.
The cast, played by Hui-Shan Yong, Lucie Allouche, Sean Devare, and Zixin Liu (plus Lu Liu on the Pipa) offer a vibrant ensemble of argument and conflict, balanced within the scope of camaraderie. Their acting suggests that perhaps the arguments entailed in the Talmud are just sport – much like a fight club practicing King Fu. However, these conflicts can turn deadly, forcing individuals to take sides and enact violence.
As a whole, the interplay of various narrative mediums within THE TALMUD takes you into a deep headspace, very much like a drug – a theme in Meta Phys-Ed's previous show WAKE...SING...(2018). Though the show has already closed, I would recommend you see it if you want to see something explorative, bizarre, contradictory yet harmonious, and multi-medium.