Joshua Sofaer

Art & Performance

Why?

Wilton’s Music Hall, London, 13 April 2008

Why? is an evening-specific Passover Cabaret which looks at what it means to ask and answer questions.

It is based loosely around the 4 questions from the seder meal which are really part of the single question: Why is this night different from all other nights?

The number 4 is a recurrent theme of the piece as it is in the seder itself. As well as the 4 questions, there will be 4 cups of wine, in the form of toasts and 4 ‘characters’ that embody the 4 sons: wise, wicked, simple and too young.

Picking up on midrash instruction that seder leaders should keep their audience alert and curious by the use of song, there are 4 contemporary ballads adapted from popular culture, each of which represents a different rumination on the question ‘why?’. The backing tracks to the songs are stitched together as a seamless underscoring to the piece, phrases of which are sung at key moments by one of the ‘sons’.

The text itself oscillates between references, provocations and discussion points arising from the Haggadah, issues of contemporary slavery and freedom, and intertextual references arising from the song lyrics.

Why? was produced by Yad Arts for the JCC London
Curated by Josephine Burton