|Died||April 10, 2015 88) (aged|
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
|Resting place||Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, New Jersey|
|Education||The New School for Social Research|
|Occupation||Actress, director, writer|
|Known for||Co-founding The Living Theatre|
Judith Malina (June 4, 1926 – April 10, 2015) was a German-born American theater and film actress, writer and director. With her husband, Julian Beck, Malina co-founded The Living Theatre, a radical political theatre troupe that rose to prominence in New York City and Paris during the 1950s and 60s. The Living Theatre and its founders were the subject of the 1983 documentary Signals Through The Flames .
Malina was born in Kiel, Germany, the daughter of Polish Jewish parents: her mother, Rosel (née Zamora), was a former actress, and her father, Max Malina, a rabbi in the conservative denomination.In 1929 at the age of three, she immigrated with her parents to New York City.
Her parents helped her see how important political theatre was, as her father was trying to warn people of the Nazi menace and he left Germany with his family largely due to the rise of antisemitism there in the late 1920s.
Except for long tours, she lived in New York City until her move to the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey. 1943 till 1945, Malina worked for Valeska Gert at the Beggar Bar. There she observed many of Gert's performances which influenced her later artistic approach.Interested in acting from an early age, she began attending the New School for Social Research in 1945 to study theatre under Erwin Piscator. Malina was greatly influenced by Piscator's philosophy of theatre which was similar to Bertolt Brecht's principles of "epic theatre" but went further in departing from traditional narrative forms. Piscator saw theatre as a form of political communication or agitprop ("Theatre interests me only when it is a matter of interest to society." ); Malina, unlike Piscator, was committed to nonviolence and anarchism.
In 1963, they had to close the Living Theatre because of IRS charges (later proved false) of tax problems, and Malina and Beck were convicted of contempt of court, in part because Judith defended Julian wearing the garb of Portia from The Merchant of Venice – and tried to use a similar argument. [ citation needed ]They received a five-year suspended sentence, and decided to leave the U.S. The company spent the next five years touring in Europe and creating increasingly radical works, culminating in Paradise Now . They returned to the US in 1968 to present their new work. In her book The Enormous Despair (1972), part of her series of published diaries, Malina expressed the sense of danger and unfamiliarity she felt on returning to the U.S. in the midst of the social upheavals of the late 1960s.
In 1969, the company decided to divide into three groups. One worked on the pop scene in London, another went to India to study traditional Indian theatre arts, and the third, including Malina and Beck, traveled in 1971 to Brazil to tour. They were imprisoned there on political charges for two months by the military government.
After Beck's death from cancer in 1985, company member Hanon Reznikov, who had become Malina's lover (they married in 1988), assumed co-leadership of the Living Theatre company. In 2007, it opened its own theater at 21 Clinton Street in Manhattan. In April 2008 Reznikov suffered a stroke and while hospitalized died of pneumonia on May 3 of the same year at the age of 57.
Malina appeared occasionally in films, beginning in 1975, when she played Al Pacino's mother in Dog Day Afternoon . Using her for the role was Pacino's idea, said its director, Sidney Lumet. Lumet recalls that tracking her down was difficult, as she had moved from New York to Vermont. "I had no idea of what to expect," said Lumet. "I didn't even know whether she'd want to do a 'commercial' film. Well, let me tell you, she is an actress. Totally professional. She also had no money and we had to pay her fare from Vermont, but she walked in and was perfect."
She also appeared in Pacino's Looking for Richard . Malina's other roles in cinema include Rose in Awakenings (1990) and Grandma Addams in The Addams Family (1991). She had major roles in Household Saints (1993) and the low-budget film, Nothing Really Happens (2003). She appeared in an episode of the TV series The Sopranos in 2006 as a nun, the secret mother of Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri. Malina is the subject of a 2012 documentary by Azad Jafarian titled Love and Politics . The film premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. Malina also has a significant supporting role in the well-received film Enemies, A Love Story (1989), in which she acted alongside Lena Olin, Ron Silver and Anjelica Huston. Some of Malina's artistic qualities were described by theater scholar Richard Schechner:
"The thing about Judith Malina is that she is indefatigable, unstoppable, erupting with ideas. Malina is long-living, long-working, optimistic, and by the second decade of the 21st century girlish and old womanish at the same time. She survives and she bubbles, both."
Malina met her long-time collaborator and husband, Julian Beck, in 1943, when she was 17 and he was a student at Yale University. Beck, originally a painter, came to share her interest in political theatre. In 1947, the couple founded The Living Theatre, which they directed together until Beck's death in 1985. Beck and Malina had "two offstage children", Garrick and Isha.
Malina's and Beck's marriage was non-monogamous. The bisexual Beck had a long-term male partner, as did Malina. In 1988, she married her long-term partner Hanon Resnikov.They co-directed the Living Theatre's activity in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, until Reznikov's unexpected death in 2008.
Malina died in Englewood, New Jersey, on April 10, 2015.
In 1996, Malina was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) degree from Whittier College.
Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American biographical crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, James Broderick, and Charles Durning. The screenplay is written by Frank Pierson and is based on the Life magazine article "The Boys in the Bank" by P. F. Kluge and Thomas Moore. The feature chronicled the 1972 robbery and hostage situation led by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturile at a Chase Manhattan branch in Brooklyn.
Julian Beck was an American actor, director, poet, and painter. He is best known for co-founding and directing The Living Theatre, as well as his role as Kane, the malevolent preacher in the 1986 movie Poltergeist II: The Other Side. The Living Theatre and its founders were the subject of the 1983 documentary Signals Through The Flames.
Sidney Arthur Lumet was an American film director, producer, and screenwriter with over 50 films to his credit. He was nominated five times for the Academy Award: four for Best Director for 12 Angry Men (1957), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976), and The Verdict (1982) and one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Prince of the City (1981). He did not win an individual Academy Award, but did receive an Academy Honorary Award, and 14 of his films were nominated for Oscars.
Lee Strasberg was a Polish-born American actor, director, and theatre practitioner. He co-founded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective". In 1951 he became director of the nonprofit Actors Studio in New York City, considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school," and in 1966 he was involved in the creation of Actors Studio West in Los Angeles.
John Holland Cazale was an American actor. He appeared in five films over seven years, all of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), The Godfather Part II (1974), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and The Deer Hunter (1978), with the two Godfather films and The Deer Hunter winning. Cazale started as a theater actor in New York City, ranging from regional, to off-Broadway, to Broadway acting alongside Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and Sam Waterston. Cazale soon became one of Hollywood's premier character actors, starting with his role as the doomed, weak-minded Fredo Corleone opposite longtime friend Al Pacino in Francis Ford Coppola's film The Godfather, its 1974 sequel, and Dog Day Afternoon. Cazale chose to continue acting despite having been diagnosed with lung cancer. He died in New York City on March 13, 1978, shortly after completing his role in The Deer Hunter.
The Living Theatre is an American theatre company founded in 1947 and based in New York City. It is the oldest experimental theatre group in the United States. For most of its history it was led by its founders, actress Judith Malina and painter/poet Julian Beck. After Beck's death in 1985, company member Hanon Reznikov became co-director with Malina; the two were married in 1988. After Malina's death in 2015, her responsibilities were taken over by her son Garrick Maxwell Beck. The Living Theatre and its founders were the subject of the 1983 documentary Signals Through the Flames.
A political drama can describe a play, film or TV program that has a political component, whether reflecting the author's political opinion, or describing a politician or series of political events.
Erwin Friedrich Maximilian Piscator was a German theatre director and producer. Along with Bertolt Brecht, he was the foremost exponent of epic theatre, a form that emphasizes the socio-political content of drama, rather than its emotional manipulation of the audience or the production's formal beauty.
Beatrice Whitney Straight was an American theatre, film and television actress and a member of the prominent Whitney family. She was an Academy Award and Tony Award winner as well as an Emmy Award nominee.
Jay Presson Allen was an American screenwriter, playwright, stage director, television producer, and novelist. Known for her withering wit and sometimes-off-color wisecracks, she was one of the few women making a living as a screenwriter at a time when women were a rarity in the profession. "You write to please yourself," she said, "The only office where there's no superior is the office of the scribe."
Jack Gelber was an American playwright best known for his 1959 drama The Connection, depicting the life of drug-addicted jazz musicians. The first great success of the Living Theatre, the play was translated into five languages and produced in ten nations. Gelber continued to work and write in New York, where he also taught writing, directing and drama as a professor, chiefly at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where he created the MFA program in playwriting. In 1999 he received the Edward Albee Last Frontier Playwright Award in recognition of his lifetime of achievements in theatre.
The Connection is a 1959 play by Jack Gelber. It was first produced by the Living Theatre, directed by Living Theatre co-founder Judith Malina, and designed by co-founder Julian Beck. The play has a play-within-a-play format, with characters Jim Dunn as the "producer" and Jaybird as the "writer" attempting to stage a production about the underbelly of society using "real" addicts. Some of the addicts are jazz musicians. They all have one thing in common: they are waiting for their drug dealer, their "connection". The dialogue of the characters is interspersed with jazz music. The music was composed by jazz pianist Freddie Redd.
In the Jungle of Cities is a play by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. Written between 1921 and 1924, it received its first theatrical production under the title Im Dickicht at the Residenztheater in Munich, opening on 9 May 1923. This production was directed by Erich Engel, with set design by Caspar Neher. The cast included Otto Wernicke as Shlink the lumber dealer, Erwin Faber as George Garga, and Maria Koppenhöfer as his sister Mary. Im Dickicht was produced at Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater in Berlin, where Brecht had been employed as a dramaturg. The production opened on 29 October 1924, with the same director and scenographer, but in a cut version with a new prologue and the title Dickicht: Untergang einer Familie. Fritz Kortner played Shlink and Walter Frank played George, with Franziska Kinz, Paul Bildt, Mathias Wieman, and Gerda Müller also in the cast. Willett and Manheim report that this production "was not a success".
Hanon Reznikov was an American actor and writer.
Valeska Gert was a German dancer, pantomime, cabaret artist and actress. She was a pioneering performance artist who is said to have laid the foundations and paved the way for the punk movement.
The Brig is a play written by former U.S. Marine Kenneth H. Brown. It was first performed in New York by The Living Theatre on May 13, 1963, with a production filmed in 1964 by Jonas Mekas. The Brig received three Obie Awards in 1964, for Best Production (play), Best Design and Best Direction.
Dramatic Workshop was the name of a drama and acting school associated with the New School for Social Research in New York City. It was launched in 1940 by German expatriate stage director Erwin Piscator. Among the faculty were Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler, among the students Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Beatrice Arthur, Walter Matthau, Tennessee Williams and Elaine Stritch. The Dramatic Workshop considerably contributed to the resurgence of the Off-Broadway theatre.
Bennes Mardenn was an American actor, director, teacher, and mentor to many actors.
Signals Through the Flames is a 1983 documentary film on the work of Julian Beck and Judith Malina as the founders of The Living Theatre performance company. The title of the film is taken from the work of Antonin Artaud in his book on theatre theory called The Theatre and its Double. The film was produced by Mystic Fire Video as a project of the now defunct Mystic Fire Video bookstore in New York City. It was directed and edited by Sheldon Rochlin.
Karen Malpede is an American playwright and director whose work reflects an ongoing interest in social justice issues. She is a co-founder of the Theater Three Collaborative in New York City, and teaches theater and environmental justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is also the editor of the notable anthology, Women in Theater: Compassion and Hope (1984).
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