An ‘apocalyptic comedy’ offers laughs, seeks community contributions; Playwright discovers fundraising is no joke
Just one week remains for Cambridge playwright Larry Jay Tish to raise the funds to produce his newest drama, “The Last Jews,” at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.
Tish calls the play, scheduled to run May 1 through May 11, an apocalyptic comedy, a love story with a genocide twist. The Jewish Advocate calls it “a hybrid of Mel Brooks and Ionesco.”
A prestigious fellowship from the theater provides performing space. But Tish still faces the immediate question: How to raise the remaining $6,000 needed to mount the production? “I feel like Zero Mostel in The Producers, but I don’t know that many rich widows,” he says.
Fundraisers and personal appeals brought in a large chunk of the $25,000 needed to mount the professional production. But Equity contracts and actors, set construction and design, lighting and sound have gobbled up those funds, so Tish has turned to the community for the remainder.
The Kickstarter campaign ends on Holocaust Remembrance Day; significant because The Last Jews poses the question: What if the dark forces that have bullied, enslaved and murdered Jews over the centuries finally won out? What if the Good Jews, Bad Jews and In-between Jews were all swept away, and all that was left were…. The last two Jews?
But what if the last Jews didn’t want anyone’s help? And the last Jews turned out to be a couple – long separated – who can’t stand to be in the same room with each other?
The preposterous plot exemplifies how Jews have always found humor even in the most dire circumstances. At its heart, it’s a love story with a larger message for a people that are constantly re-evaluating what it means to be – and be judged – Jewish.
“The Last Jews asks deep existential questions that cut right to the heart of the questions that we as an American Jewish community are asking ourselves all over the place, all the time,” says Rabbi Eric Gurvis of Temple Shalom, Newton.
To discover more about The Last Jews, and view a video, please visit The Last Jews Kickstarter Campaign here
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