BRAMPTON, Ont. — Members of a Jewish, secular, socialist, summertime collective in Brampton, Ont., are preparing a theatre production recounting the story of a Soviet children’s commune in the 1920s.
On Aug. 9 and 10, residents of Camp Naivelt – run by the United Jewish Peoples’ Order since 1945 as a summer cottage rental area for families interested in Jewish folklore and arts – present Oy di velt vet vern yinger: a work-in-progress.
Ruth Howard, the camp’s artistic director and a Naivelt member, told The CJN by e-mail that the presentation will be “a multi-arts exploration about the past, present and future of Naivelt, driven by recorded and live music and soundscape, with simultaneous installations using dance, song, visual arts, projections, audience interaction and sewing.”
Much of the project is based on the memoirs of Manya Lipshitz’s life in the Twelfth Children’s Work Commune in Soviet Russia.
It will also reflect information based on the research of Ester Reiter and the memoirs of Avram Himelstein, and “other oral histories from the community,” Howard wrote.
Lipshitz, whose husband Sam was the editor of the left-leaning Canadian Jewish Weekly, wrote about her experiences in her 1991 book, Time Remembered, “a rediscovery of her youthful writings in journals from a Russian commune in the early years of the Revolution,” according to the website, AntiQbook.
The hour-long presentation will be open to the public and will have repeated performances throughout the weekend.
But Howard encourages visitors to “plan to come for longer and visit Naivelt and our cottage installations.”
In July, 25 Naivelt children immersed themselves in a weeklong experiment, living life as children in the early days of the Russian Revolution to capture what it was like “to believe, despite great deprivations, that a new ‘younger’ world was possible, that Utopia was just around the corner and that you were part of making it happen,” Howard added.
For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call 416-834-1485.