Soul Man 

So you think your guy is clingy?

5/27-5/30

Thanks to a recent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by a local wonder boy, the Golem (a clay robot-like creature, according to Jewish folklore) has become a relatively familiar mythological figure. Now, the Golem isn't a perfect houseguest, but he's quiet and he does the dishes when asked, so one can't really complain. His cousin the Dybbuk, on the other hand, is not so easily ignored. In fact, he's the opposite of the Golem: where the latter is a body without a soul, the former is a soul without a body, an unhappy spirit that inhabits a living person and lets everybody around know just how miserable and wronged it is. The word comes from the Yiddish word meaning "to cling"; a dybbuk doesn't release its hold on the host until it feels it has been avenged. The story of the dybbuk has been told for centuries, but was first adapted for the stage in 1919 by ethnographer and writer Szymon Ansky, who'd heard the legend and witnessed ritual exorcisms in his fieldwork in the shtetls, or Jewish villages, of Eastern Europe. Traveling Jewish Theatre's production of Bruce Myers' Dybbuk is a minimized adaptation of Ansky's final Yiddish version of the play (it has undergone many translations and rewrites over the years), featuring just two actors, two candles and, of course, one very pissed-off demon. Karine Koret plays a young wife trying to entertain her melancholy husband (Keith Davis) with a story; the actors eventually transform into the characters of that tale. Young Leah and penniless student Chanon are in love. When Leah's father marries her off to a richer man, Chanon dies, brokenhearted, and his soul enters her body. Leah has a major decision to make: Does she undergo exorcism and accept her loveless marriage, or let the dybbuk stay, and remain uncomfortably close to her beloved?

This will be Traveling Jewish Theatre's third production of Myers' Dybbuk in the company's 25-year history; founder and director Corey Fischer starred in the 1989 production. The play finished up a monthlong run at TJT's SF home last weekend and will be presented at Berkeley's Julia Morgan Theater (2640 College Ave.), Thursday through Sunday. At 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, $24 general, $20 students and seniors; 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $28 general, $24 students and seniors. Tickets and information: ATJT.com or 415-285-8080. -- Nora Sohnen

5/28-7/15

Aesop Rock

Meese Moppets at Merrit

"Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear," ends one modern version of Aesop's fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. You can sub out hot dogs and lemonade when you take the kids to see the puppet version, adapted by Alameda schoolteacher David C. Jones, at Children's Fairyland. The show opens this weekend, and plays at 11 a.m., 2, and 4 p.m. each day the park is open, which, this week, includes Monday. Info: Fairyland.org or 510-452-2259. -- Stefanie Kalem

5/29-5/31

Lil' Miss Snake Arms

Hold on to your zils. The 31st annual Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant is being held in Alameda this year, in the sumptuous Art Deco confines of the Auctions by the Bay Theater (2700 Saratoga St.). The contest schedule is like this: Saturday, single dancer preliminaries at 1 p.m., finals at 7; Sunday, troupes, duos and trios, and Grand Dancer (dancers 45 years of age and up) divisions start at 11:30 a.m., with all prizes awarded at the end of that day's program. The contest culminates in a dinner show at 6 p.m. Sunday night and workshops from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday (both at El Morocco, 2203 Morello Ave., Pleasant Hill). BellyDC.com -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 6/1

Manners and Supermanners

Who says civility is dead? Get the fuck out of my way and go to Cody's on Telegraph Tuesday evening (7:30) to listen to Charles ("Social Grace") Purdy . San Francisco writer Purdy does the SF Weekly's biweekly etiquette column, which is a little like covering stock-car racing for Vogue. Social Grace straightens out readers on how to dispose of olive pits at a party, how to deflect nosy people, ski trip dos and don'ts, etc. But don't hold that against him. 2454 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley. CodysBooks.com -- Kelly Vance

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