Out & About

June 13, 2013

'Odessa' a mix of Old World and New


Did Finkelstein know what she was getting into when she signed up?

“Well, yes and no,” she said. “You never know what you’re getting into.”

Finkelstein did have some good background, though.

“I grew up in Yiddish theater,” she said. 

Her parents were part of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre before she was born. In fact, Finkelstein’s mother performed while pregnant with her. Finkelstein worked her way up the ranks and performed, herself, as well as acted as assistant director and co-director.

While the cast size is a challenge, the annual production garners a lot of local community support. In fact, not all of the actors are professionals.

“We have many theater-school graduates, but the majority is not professional,” Finkelstein said. “The bulk of our company members have day jobs.”

Collectively, they get the theatrical job done.

“It’s a really great, generous group of people,” Finkelstein said. “It really is an ensemble piece.”

Finkelstein advised not to be wary of a production in Yiddish. The work uses “supertitles,” which means the Yiddish is translated to English and French just above the stage.

“Our shows are very accessible,” she said. “And this show, in particular, is so visual and so physical.”

The work employs unique shadow puppetry.

“It’s a really exciting storytelling element of this production,”  she said.

And the combination of klezmer and rap should pique anyone’s musical interest.

“It’s a real mix of Old World and New World,” Finkelstein said. “It’s a classic with a contemporary new spin and edge.”

 Steven Howell is the author of Montreal Essential Guide, a Sutro Media iPhone travel app available at

IF YOU GO WHAT: "Tales from Odessa." WHEN: Sunday, June 16, through Sunday, July 7. WHERE: The Segal Centre for Performing Arts is at 5170 Chemin Cote St. Catherine, Montreal. Take Autoroute 15 North (I-87 after the border), and continue over the Champlain Bridge. Take exit 66, Cote St. Luc/Queen Mary, and continue on the Decarie Expressway service road for about five minutes. Turn right on Chemin Cote Ste. Catherine. The Segal Centre is two blocks on the right. ADMISSION: Adult tickets cost $46. Discounts are available for students, seniors and matinees. CONTACT: Call (514) 739-7944, or visit

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