“Kraft” by Leah Kapilovitsh Hofman
Leah Kapilovitsh Hofman’s “Kraft” is a one-act play about power, about civilization and the energy it takes to fuel it. The symbolic characters of the play are arguing over progress: sprightly Electricity mocks the aging Steam Engine, the Airplane outdoes the Horse, and Madame Cinema is more talkative than the Radio. The only human in the play is the abstract Slave, whose naïve questioning reveals that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Leah K. Hofman (Leah Kapilowicz/Kapilyovitsh) was born in Livenhof (Livani, Latvia today) in 1898 in a working class family. She moved to London as a child, and to the United States as a teenager. Working in tailoring and education, Hofman began publishing in her late teens in various Yiddish periodicals. Herself but a child, Hofman became a pioneer of Yiddish literature for children. Her collection of poetry In Kinderland, first published in 1919, went into third edition within a decade. Her work was widely anthologized, and she also published a collection of short stories (Kleyne in der groyser velt, 1920) and plays (Teater-shpiln, 1930). Her poetry, prose and drama were appreciated by generations of Yiddish educators, but the decline of Yiddish secular education and the lack of translation into English made Hofman’s work largely unknown today. Through the emerging genre of children’s literature, Leah Kapelowicz Hofman was able to create modernist, imaginative, fantastical, as well as naturalist and politically charged literature, meant to educate and inspire Yiddish speaking children as well as their caretakers. Her last book of poetry was published in 1941 in Los Angeles, where she died in 1952.
Performance coming in May 2019…check this site for more details!
See some photos from the performance of “Kraft” at YAAANA’s 1st Anniversary Dinner!