Unorthodox Behavior

First produced by Theater for the New City
New York, 1995.

Directed by Barbara Kahn
Malka…………….…………………..…..Lenore Loveman
Rabbi Gerson……………………………....Gary Lamadore
Libby Lozawick…..………………………..…Jolie Dechev
Cyma (Simi) Lozawick………………....Jackie S. Freeman
Rebecca………………………….…….Marina Lisa Pulido

Associate Director…………………………Connie Winston
Stage Manager……………………..…….…….J.M. Wilson
Costume Design……………………………..……Linda Gui
Lighting Design……………………………..…….Paul Ferri
Technical Advisor………………..……..………Joseph Fox
Songs performed by………………….………..Dora Libson

Excerpt I:
Malka's home in the shtetl (town) of
Sherstagrad, between Kiev and Odessa in the Ukraine. 1913.

Cyma and Malka

Cyma:

They made me leave the shul. I couldn't pray for Papa… The rabbi ordered me to leave...but I opened the siddur and started to pray. "Yis-gad-dal v'yis-kad-dash sh'me rab-bo...." Someone must have gone to get Mrs. Taxin from her husband's shop across the street. She came in and started to tell me what I was doing was a shanda--"you shame the memory of your father," but I wouldn't listen. I just prayed louder, "b'ol-mo di'v-ro kir'-u-seh..." One of the men said, "pull her away, get her out of here!" Mrs. Taxin tried, but she's an old woman, I'm stronger than she is. Finally, she said, "Feh! I wash my hands of you--you're a miserable excuse for a woman!" and she left. The men gathered in the corner with the rabbi. I couldn't hear what they said, but they were arguing…one of them went out. In a little while he came in with the man who works in the field behind the shul.

Malka:
Kostya? With the red beard? They went to get Kostya, because they can't touch you themselves, you're a young lady. But not Kostya, it should not have been Kostya. The way he looks at the women.

Cyma:
(Distraught) Kostya picked me up like I was a pile of rags and carried me outside. When he carried me, he put his hand on my breast. They all saw that, and no one stopped him. Some of the men spit on me, too, until Rabbi Gerson called out for them to stop. When Kostya put me down outside, I tried to go back, but he blocked the way. And he laughed and called out so everyone could hear, "Jewish tits are as soft as Russian tits…" I hate them!

Malka:
No, Sweetheart, don't let them make you hate. You love your Papa, and you miss him. Remember how much he loved you. Think about that.


Excerpt II:

Cyma and Libby's home in Sherstagrad. 1913.
The following day.

Libby and Cyma

Libby:

I'm going with you. We'll both go to shul and pray for Papa. And whatever happens will happen to both of us.

Cyma:
Libby, that's silly. You don't want to do this.

Libby:
(Angry) I'm not silly! Or stupid! He's my father, too, and I can go to shul just like you did.

Cyma:
They would eat you alive if you did. And you would let them.

Libby:
I would not. And besides, we'll be together. They can't hurt us so much if we're together, can they? Please, Simi, you're my sister, and I'm afraid, and I want to be with you no matter what happens.

Cyma:
Sorry, Libby, your timing is not so good. Yesterday, I would have been proud to have you go with me--the two Lozawick sisters standing together. Today, I don't even want to look at you. You despise what I'm doing, but you'll do it with me because you're afraid. My sister is a coward who wants me to hold her hand while she trembles with fear. Not today, Libby. Not today.

Libby:
That's not fair. I changed my mind. I have a right to change my mind. I thought about it, really, I did. And I changed my mind. I want to stand with you.   

Cyma:
What will you do when they spit on you and call you names? When your friends turn their backs on you? When people talk about you in whispers when you pass them by? When you go in a shop and no one will look at you or sell you eggs or flour or needle and thread? That's what will happen, you know. We can't always be together. What will you do when you're alone and these things happen? Will you run home looking for Cyma to hold your hand? And if I'm no longer here? What will you do then? Throw yourself in the Voz?

Libby:
I don't want to hear this.

Cyma:
Hear it, Libby. This is not a game you can decide you don't want to play anymore when the fun stops.

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