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Passover variety show features acts inspired by Biblical plagues - Brooklyn Paper

Passover variety show features acts inspired by Biblical plagues

Pharoh, let my people show: Sibling vaudevillians Josh and Ellia Bisker are putting on a Passover variety show with aerialist Becky Hahn, comedians, and magicians at Bushwick circus training facility the Muse on April 10 and 11.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Pharaoh, let my people show!

A bevy of Brooklyn acrobats, burlesque dancers, and magicians will perform acts inspired by the 10 Biblical plagues in Exodus at a Passover-themed variety show at Bushwick circus training facility the Muse on April 10 and 11. The irreverent take on the holiday, which commemorates a series of afflictions God wrought on Egypt to deliver the Jews from slavery, is actually very much in line with the spirit of Passover, organizers said.

“It’s a very over-the-top holiday — everything about the story is more than necessary, so it seemed like a really good fit for the spectacle of a circus show,” said organizer Ellia Bisker, who lives in Bushwick and will co-emcee the show with her brother Josh Bisker. “Passover is one of our very favorite holidays, and this show comes from a genuine place.”

Audience members will also take part in an interactive reading of the Passover story — and a few lucky guests will get to dress up as foods from the Seder plate.

The sibling duo said they conceived “The Super Fun Passover Seder” in the tradition of Jewish vaudeville. The Passover tradition of families reading the liberation tale aloud also lends itself to audience participation, they said.

“That’s one of the things that’s essential to the tradition is the people at the table help to retell the story,” said Josh Bisker, who lives in Park Slope.

A high-flying acrobat will team up with a pair of radio storytellers to present the first affliction — God turning Egypt’s water to blood. Aerialist Rebecca Heinegg choreographed her routine to a voice-and-music collage arranged by Soundsmith Radio — a show that sets listener-recorded missives to tunes.

“It’s an aerial act that captures the transformation from water to blood and conveys the experience of that — that is, not all transformations are cheerful and positive, but they can instead have meaning and terror in them,” Josh Bisker said.

After the show, guests can dance off some of that Manischewitz to an “all-star pick-up Klezmer band” featuring members from Tipsy Oxcart, Veveritse, and Raya Brass Band, Ellia Bisker said.

Passover is typically a family affair, but the brother-sister duo said their variety show will be the next best thing to a Bisker family meal.

“We would invite everybody to our family seder…” Ellia Bisker said.

“But it’s really hard on our mom,” Josh Bisker said.

“The Super Fun Passover Seder” at the Muse (338 Moffat St. between Irving and Knickerbocker avenues in Bushwick, www.superfunvariety.wordpress.com). 8 pm on April 10 and 11. $15.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.

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