Sure, Jewish kids love Chanukah, but according to Josh and Rachael Silverbauer, Purim is the most underrated holiday for grownups, and not necessarily just for Jews. That’s why they created A Very Awesome Purim, a raucous, musical retelling of the biblical Book of Esther. (Ever heard the phrase, “the whole megillah?” That’s it.)
The couple loves the traditional Purim-spiel style of parody and Josh’s bonafide runs deep: he wrote his first Purim-spiel for his bar mitzvah project. On the holiday’s appeal, Rachael explains, “it's a simple story that lends itself to being created in a new way over and over again. At the same time, it's poignant and has some important lessons wrapped up in all its buffoonery.”
What does Very Awesome’s version look like? Picture a cross between Forbidden Broadway and a panto, but featuring a drunken king, evil Jew-hating prime minister, heroic Jewess, and her cousin/adoptive father. The event debuted at a West Philly house party 10 years ago. Since then, the Silverbauers have given each performance a theme. Past shows celebrated Disney, Glam Rock, and the Beatles; this year, with A Very Poppy Purim, they spotlight “pop legends,” including Lady Gaga, because this story has plenty of bad romance.
You know I’m bad
Sound confusing? Don’t worry! One of the holiday’s rules is that the audience must get so drunk they can’t tell the difference between Mordecai (the good guy) and Haman (the bad guy). To assist, the troupe will be selling shot glasses (Ruba Club is 21 and over), and of course, Purim’s official food, the hamantaschen. A triangular pastry filled with fruit jam (or, in the best-case scenario, poppy-seed jam) it is supposed to resemble Haman’s tricorne hat. Bring your own food if you want, drink if you like, but definitely come in costume and be ready to party like it’s 1999 B.C.E.
What, When, Where:
A Very Poppy Purim will be performed at the Ruba Club, 416 Green Street, Philadelphia. March 5, 6, 12, and 14, 2020. Tickets can be purchased online. This performance is 21 and over.