Last Night at Ballyhoo
Shawn Muller speaks the Jewish names, idioms and prayers from Alfred Uhry’s play.
Hello, this is Shawn Muller, and I will be doing the Jewish terms, names, and prayers from
Last Night of Ballyhoo. We begin in Act I. We have Reba saying the name “Max Nachman.” It’s not Knock-man, but Nachman. Leila’s lines where she says the names Eugene Selig and Harold Lilienthal. Joe’s pronunciation of “Pesach,” which means Passover, Pesach. Boo says the name “Rosenheim,” in reference to the “Rosenheim boys.” Leila says “Zachariases.” Reba with the name “Feigenbaum,” as in the Feigenbaum girls. Joe, with the word “klutz,” which means clumsy. Boo with the word kuchen, which is a cake, kuchen. Joe with the Yiddish phrase, “a shaynem donk en pupik,” which “means thanks for nothing”; it literally means “such a slap in the face.” Joe’s Hebrew phrase, “Shabbat Shalom,” which means “have a good Shabbat.” Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath. It begins Friday evening at sundown and ends Saturday evening at sundown. It’s symbolic of the seventh day where God rested. And, finally, at the end of the play we have a prayer, “baruch atah adonai elohanu melech haolam asher kidishanu bemitzvosav vetzivanu lahadlik ner shel shabbat, shabbat shalom.” That prayer is over the Shabbat candles.