Great Small Works’ newest production, Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls, is a puppet show based on the lives and work of Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler, two radical hand-puppeteers from the early 20th century. It is a meditation on their incisive and funny satirical work, and on historical models of robust embodied practices for changing social power relationships. Muntergang is a bilingual puppet show in Yiddish and English which uses original Maud and Cutler scripts, graphics and songs, together with Great Small Works’ own handpuppets, projections, rod puppets, panoramic scrolls, handmade lighting instruments, flat cut-outs, acting, dances, and an original music score performed live.
Created and performed by John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine and Roberto Rossi, with musicians Jessica Lurie and Hannah Temple and puppeteer Sam Wilson.
Conceived in collaboration with YIVO Institute for Yiddish Research, which houses the Modicut archives. Former program director Helena Gindi:
“Not only does GSW make YIVO’s archival materials accessible to the public, but in the best version of public education, they make them relevant. YIVO holds this production as an example of the possibility and power of great art to educate the public about the contents of YIVO’s archives, and ask important questions about the way we live our lives today.”