A schvitz is a traditional Jewish steambath. But for playwright and performer Nick Cassenbaum it’s also an emblem of a disappearing world – one of the last remnants of the Jewish East End. In Bubble Schmesis, Cassenbaum describes a trip to the schvitz in Canning Town with his granddad. He intersperses this account with tales of growing up in a family of Essex Jews, going to see Tottenham Hotspur with his dad (and not enjoying himself much), and attending Jewish summer camp. He describes the moment he realised that his shmackel didn’t look like those of the other boys at school, as well as the various forms of anti-Semitism – some covert, some overt – that he’s encountered over the years.
The autobiographical material is accompanied by live klezmer music performed by Dan Gouly and Josh Middleton, both dressed in bathrobes and pool-shoes, and the show concludes with a (hands-on) enactment of a schmeiss, the central ritual of the shvitz, which basically consists of a vigorous massage with a great big raffia brush.
BUBBLE SCHMESIS PERFORMANCE DETAILS
Monday 9 July & Tuesday 10 July, 7.00–9.00pm
Performance begins 7.30pm