From the glass panes of screens to border-seas, to the seal of our own bodies – how do we transcend the divisions by which we define ourselves? A new cantata in Scots and Yiddish explores the physical realities of language in our increasingly virtual world. 

The Drowning Shore is a 14-minute monodrama that incorporates Sholem Asch’s classic 1907 play God of Vengeance, and its contrasting themes of written holy Hebrew and everyday Yiddish vernacular, with an original Scots-English text. 

Scored for ‘a mezzo-soprano in a screen’, the piece is performed by Asch’s great-great-granddaughter Clara Kanter, and devised in conjunction with her father David Mazower, Editorial Director at The Yiddish Book Centre (and Asch’s great-grandson). The piece was commissioned by Compass Presents as part of Oracles in Sepia, a series of artists’ attempts to read the present through the past.

Kanter sums the project up: “Between the shared sounds of the languages and the shared concerns of identity and power, Scottish and Yiddish cultures have a lot in common. It has been a pleasure to discover these parallels and focus on our commonalities, at a time when our world leaders seem increasingly keen to promote isolationism.”

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