A schvitz is a traditional Jewish steambath. But for playwright and performer Nick Cassenbaum it’s also an emblem of a disappearing world – one of the last remnants of the Jewish East End. In Bubble Schmeisis, Cassenbaum describes a trip to the shvitz in Canning Town with his granddad.
He intersperses this account with tales of growing up in a family of Essex Jews, going to see Tottenham Hotspur with his dad (and not enjoying himself much), and attending Jewish summer camp. He describes the various forms of anti-Semitism, some covert, some overt, that he’s encountered over the years.
The autobiographical material is accompanied by live klezmer music, performed by Dan Gouly and Josh Middleton, both wearing bathrobes and pool-shoes, and the show concludes with a (hands-on) enactment of a schmeiss, the central ritual of the shvitz, which basically consists of a vigorous massage with a great big raffia brush.
Check out the trailer below:
Bubble Schmeisis is brought to you by Latitude 36, which forms part of the Valletta 2018 Cultural Programme. The performance will be held on the 9th and 10th July 2018 at Blitz in Valletta, from 7-9pm.