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New Home, New Life

For those of you wondering about the fate of the peripatetic theatre legend Judith Malina, there’s good news.  The Forward just published an article and posted a video of the grounds and atmosphere of Malina’s new home at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, NJ, along with interviews with Ms. Malina and her fellow “hostages” (as she jokingly calls her fellow residents).

It’s impossible to escape the theatricality of the place: the artistry and ingrained showmanship of the retired residents is evident in everything from their delicate fingering of piano keys to the twinkle in their eyes.  Though most of her neighbors were not participants in experimental theatre as Malina was, their interest in creating something larger than themselves and using theatre to unite individuals together are values they share with her.

When Malina speaks of the community’s inclusive Seder, you can tell she’s an iconoclast still. “I want everyone, but especially the goyim who are present, to be aware that it’s a feast of liberation and redemption from slavery, not in the past but in the future,” she declares. “When I say ‘we’ are slaves, I mean everyone.  When we say, ‘Next year we’ll be in Jerusalem,’ it means we will all be where we want to be.  The concept of Zion is not a place in the Middle East, it’s a place of holiness that should be everywhere and could be anywhere, and this is becoming more pressing and more important everyday.”

She commutes to Manhattan to perform in the Living Theatre’s production of Here We Are on the Lower East Side, and she is writing a play to be performed at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home.  Her work and her life go on.

Topics: Theater, Plays
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How to cite this page

Benson, Stephen. "New Home, New Life." 23 May 2013. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on June 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/new-home-new-life>.

Judith Malina.
Courtesy of Charles Rotmil.
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