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What is The Shabbat Project?

The Shabbat Project is a community-generated documentary theatre piece that uses the genre of verbatim theatre to explore the role of Shabbat in our lives. 
Now, you might be asking yourself:


“What is documentary theatre? What is verbatim theatre?!” 

Documentary theatre is theatre that uses pre-existing documentary material as source material for stories about real events and people. Verbatim theatre is a form of documentary theatre in which plays/pieces/performances are constructed from the exact words spoken by people interviewed about a particular event or topic. Sometimes actors perform the interview text verbatim, as they were spoken, and sometimes the actual interview recordings are used as part of the performance. This piece uses both modes of storytelling. 

When did this project begin? 

In November of 2022, I began interviewing volunteers from the Pardes community in Jerusalem who offered to share with me about their relationships to Shabbat. These interviews were transcribed and subsequently culled and organized by topic. For example Shabbat preparation, Shabbat morning, candle lighting, havdalah, etc. 

Then these transcripts were compiled into a script that carries the audience through the journey of Shabbat starting with stories about the preparation for Shabbat and ending with stories about Motzei Shabbat. This piece is a collage of language that weaves one story into the next in an effort to highlight the similarities and differences that exist within our Jewish community. 

The script developed at Pardes was originally staged in May of 2023 in the Pardes Beit Midrash. The ensemble of storytellers who performed the script served as a mouthpiece to share the stories of the community. Some of them also gave their interview testimony but unlike typical theatre, they were not actors playing specific characters. Rather, they gave voice to these stories simply as themselves. 

When is the Shabbat Project coming to Hebrew College? 

This May, the script workshopped at Pardes will be restaged for our Hebrew College community as part of the ongoing development of this piece. In addition this performance will introduce our Hebrew College community to the Shabbat Project so that next fall the HC community can begin our own community interview process. Starting next fall, the Hebrew College community will develop a new script that captures the Hebrew College community’s unique relationship to Shabbat. 


So join us on May 1st from 2-3:30pm in the Mascot Beit Midrash for the second workshop performance of The Shabbat Project.

Pull up a chair and see what it’s like to welcome Shabbat on a Wednesday!

Check out the teaser from our 2023 workshop! 

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