The Tenth Man
by Paddy Chayefsky
from an adaptation of The Dybbuk by S. Ansky
Directed by Murphy Scott Wulfgar
April 27 - May 7, 2023
DIRECTIONS AND MORE
A small group of Jewish men in 1969 feverishly attempt to gather a minyan (quorum of ten) for their morning prayers. One member arrives with their granddaughter in tow, claiming she has been possessed by a dybbuk (malevolent spirit). Another desperately recruits a non-believing Jewish passerby (with a profound hangover) off the street. What ensues is an hysterically funny and quietly profound setting to have their faith (and skepticism) tested.
In The Tenth Man, Paddy Chayefsky (Network, Altered States, Marty) achieves the remarkable task of being laugh-out-loud funny while pondering the nature of faith within a diverse community of beliefs-- all without levying judgment. No small feat. He cloaks deeper themes in comedic naturalism, entertaining the audience, provoking thought, and illuminating the beauty inherent in Jewish culture.
The play highlights poetic elements of mysticism that many modern day Jews might find unfamiliar and offers non-Jewish patrons a delightful view into the vibrancy and banter alive within the "big tent" of synagogue life.
Another "immersive" BSB production, The Tenth Man will be performed at B’nai Israel Synagogue in Council Bluffs, IA. The setting becomes another character-- fully alive and realized-- transporting (not encroach upon) the audience, more deeply connecting them to the characters, emotions, and humor of the play.
From Act Two, Scene Two
You don’t believe in dybbuks?
I'm afraid not. I think you are all behaving like madmen.
(He considers this answer for a moment.) I will tell you an old Chassidic parable. A deaf man passed by a house in which a wedding party was going on. He looked in the window and saw all the people there dancing and cavorting, leaping about and laughing. However, since the man was deaf and could not hear the music of the fiddlers, he said to himself: "Ah, this must be a madhouse." Young man, because you are deaf, must it follow that we are lunatics?
You are quite right. I did not mean to mock your beliefs, and I apologize for it. However, I am going to call the girl's father, and, if he wants to have the girl exorcised, that's his business. (He has sat down behind the desk, put his hand on the receiver, and now looks up at ALPER.) Well?
Give him the number, Mr. Alper.