The Dybbuk, Leah’s Dress

Vintage victorian wedding dress, aluminum and steel wire.

A prop for a planned performance, this dress is paired with the braided wig, of Leah’s Braids, to represent the bride in An-Sky’s Dybbuk narrative. Flexible armature wires have been hand-stitched into the seams and interior of the garment rendering it malleable, even free-standing, yet un-wearable.

A fixture of Ashkenazi folklore, a Dybbuk (literally from the word meaning “to cling to”), is a wandering disembodied spirit, trapped between this world and the world to come. Like ghosts, dybbuks feature in a variety of Eastern European legends, but the most well-known story was condensed from the oral tradition by ethnographer S. An-Sky (Shloyme Zaynvl Rapoport), in the early twentieth century. An-Sky turned the story into a stage play which was later adapted into a 1936 film, which these pieces refer to.

Choreographer Jerome Robbins & composer Leonard Bernstein, playwright Paddy Chayefsky and filmmakers the Cohen Brothers have all made works involving dybbuks. A performance is planned for these objects, intended to work through the various layers of symbolism in the An-Sky story. Interested dancers, choreographers, composers, singers, musicians and any other stage performers are encouraged to contact me with inquiries about the performance.