gimpel the fool

Translated from the Yiddish by Saul Bellow
Adapted, Designed, Directed and Performed by Howard Rypp

Music Composed and Performed by Ron Wiseman
Featuring the clarinet of Stuart Olsberg
Acting Coached by Michael Schneider
Choreography by Ilana Cohen
Costumes by Svetlana Vishtloyk
Lighting Designed and Executed by Noam Toplian
Stage Manager Tal Orevi
Set construction by Yossi Bar Niv
Music recorded by Gal Tushia and mixed at Tom Mix Studios
Sound Mix Engineered by Niv Karsenti
Voices: Gilya Stern, Ma'ayan Rypp, Maytal Derman, Ron Wiseman, Michael Schneider, Blair Portnoy

Special thanks to Professor Avraham Novershtern and Leonid Roytman and the warm hospitality we received at Beth Shalom Aleichem

This production of "Gimpel the Fool" is presented in arrangement with Farrar Strauss and Giroux LLC.

All Rights Reserved

Length: 50 minutes without intermission

A treasure from the Yiddish literature, Nobel prize laureate I. B. Singer's courage to deal with sexual betrayal and grapple with good and evil make his very specific world of pre-Holocaust Europe to be both accessible and universal. "Gimpel the Fool" blends a rich soundtrack of voices and klezmer music into a surrealistic theatrical presentation. Gimpel's childlike acceptance and steadfast belief in God and human goodness has inspired audiences throughout the world. 

I.B. Singer

I.B. Singer born in 1902 in Poland, throughout his career he wrote in Yiddish countless collections of short stories, novels and childrens' books.His short story “Gimpel the Fool” was first published in 1957 and caused a great sensation when it was translated into English and appearred in Playboy magazine. He often shocked his contemporaries by publishing stories with pungent perversions of the human mind. His most prominent themes are the clash between the old and modern world, tradition and renewal, faith and free thought. In his writing he expressed his belief in the supernatural and Jewish mysticism, exploring both the sacred and profane while reflecting his own brand of morality and philosophy. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1978 and gained monumental status among writers throughout the world. He continued writing in Yiddish until he died in 1991 at age 89.

Howard Rypp

Howard Rypp born in Winnipeg, graduated from York University, Toronto and later immigrated to Israel in 1983. He has directed over 60 professionalproductions in English, Hebrew and Yiddish in Israel and abroad. His production of Gabriel Emanuel's “Einstein” which he originally directed in Hebrew at the Habimah National Theatre was re-mounted in English and toured North America last year including a run at the off-Broadway's La Mama etc. space.His translation of many Israeli plays and movies into English have been seen throughout the world. His most recent translation of “One of a Kind” toured North America in 2008 including presentations on Broadway at the New Victory Theatre. He has lectured on Jewish Theatre and taught acting at the University of Tel Aviv as well as video at the Sapir College. He has served as Artistic Director of the Nephesh Theatre since 1978 and recently returned to his first love - acting. As well as performing in “Gimpel the Fool” this past year he played principal and starring roles in 4 Israeli and Foreign feature films.

Ron WisemanRon Wiseman born and raised in Winnipeg. He has performed in many bands and has 4 discs of his music produced. An exciting performer he has come to be known as the “King of Jewish Reggae”. With Nephesh Theatre he has written music for productions of “Einstein”, “Kaddish”, “The Bespoke Overcoat” and “King of the Mountain”. He also performs regularly with his band Ron Wiseman and Kedusha. You can hear more of his music at


Michael Schneider

Michael Schneider Former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Veteran actor of stage and screen. He has appearred with the Nephesh Theatre in the musical “If You Will It” and Howard Rypp acted opposite him in his production of “The Best of Shalom Aleichem”. Appearances in more than 50 cinema and TV films including Oscar winning “Schindler's List” and still working!



Ilana Cohen

Ilana Cohen has been a member of the prestigious Inbal Dance Theatre since 1964. She served as artistic director and performed as the premiere dancer in the renowned “Morrocan Wedding” and “Song of Songs” as well as countless others. Today she works as an independent collaborating with poets, musicians and actors as choreographer, coach and advisor.