Fabrik at Urban Stages

Wakka Wakka Productions presents of Fabrik, a puppet theatre piece featuring expressive hand-and-rod puppets created by Kirjan Waage, opening at Urban Stages on 23 Jan 2008, following previews from 17 Jan and running through to 17 Feb 2008.

Fabrik tells the exceptional story of Moritz Rabinowitz, a successful, immigrant, Norwegian Jew who "built a factory from a button" only to watch his life be swept away by the Holocaust. Originally from Poland, he immigrated to Norway in 1911 to escape pogroms and persecution.

In Haugesund, a small fishing village, he discovered a land rich with opportunity. He called it home. Poor but determined, he eventually built one of the largest clothing empires in the country, with department stores in several cities and his own factory. Although wealthy and a leading employer and large presence in the town, he experienced a good deal of anti-Semitism. The only Jews in Haugesend, he and his family were treated as outsiders, rarely invited to social events or people's homes. In his time alone in the apartment above his store, Rabinowitz avidly wrote columns for local and national newspapers, expressing his socioeconomic ideas about commerce in Europe and Norway's natural resources.

In time, the primary focus of his columns became warnings to his countrymen about the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. He even published his own book on the danger he felt was to come, "The World Crisis and Us." His portentous denunciations were ignored by everyone except the Nazi's themselves, who considered him "the leader of the Jewish resistance in Norway" when they invaded in 1940.

Inspired by Nordic and Yiddish folktales, Fabrik has been written, directed, and designed by the Wakka Wakka ensemble David Arkema, Gabrielle Brechner, Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock, informed by research of the time period, the writings and life of Moritz Rabinowitz, his family, workers and countrymen.

Originally published on

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