A drag queen retelling of the story of Esther, the “Seinfeld” crew transported to Shushan and a music video about hamantaschen inspired by Will Smith’s classic rap song “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”
“The Whole Megillah” will have all that and more — an uproarious grab bag of popular culture through the lens of Purim.
The sketch comedy show will be performed over three days, beginning Thursday, March 17 at the Jewish Theatre, San Francisco. It’s a joint collaboration between popular local comedy troupe Killing My Lobster and the Hub of JCCSF. And it’s the first time the two have joined forces.
“Lots of people have approached the Purimshpiel from a comedic point of view in the past, but I
hadn’t really seen it done in the Bay Area via a creative and theatrical partnership,” says Dan Wolf, 35, the Hub’s program manager and a producer and director of “The Whole Megillah.”
With the seedling of an idea for a sketch comedy Purim show in 2009, Wolf turned to the actors behind Killing My Lobster shortly after his hip-hop group, Felonious, performed at the KML show “Patronizes the Arts.”
“[Wolf] called me and said he had an idea for a sketch comedy show based on Purim. We met for tea and got really excited about where that idea could go,” says Andy Alabran, KML creative director and actor.
While the founders of Killing My Lobster are Jewish, most of the actors are not. For this reason, Wolf brought the Hub’s Brian Garrick on board the production process as Jewish educator to teach the cast about the foundation of the holiday.
“This is our first foray into something so specifically Jewish,” says Alabran, 39. “In a way, that’s what felt funny to me — a bunch of non-Jews working on this very Jew-themed show.”
While the show is broken up in to sketches, it mostly follows the story of Purim in a linear way. Along with the aforementioned drag retelling, music videos and “Seinfeld” sketches, there also will be a commercial for a new parody product called the iJew, a bit on craftswomen making artisan graggers and a look at two eunuchs plotting to kill the king.
The entire production consists of six actors, two violinists and a creative team of 10 (writers, producers, directors). As producer and director, Wolf has been a major force behind the production, and has been on hand from the writing process through all the rehearsals. He says it’s been an amusing experience and, another first: it’s the first time he’s been a part of a sketch comedy production.
“I laughed really hard throughout the process … the actors are so fun to work with and so quick on their feet,” he says.
The feeling is mutual over at KML.
“We have a gung-ho cast of balls-to-the-wall-actors who will try anything,” Alabran says. “And [Wolf] was open to anything — he has great energy for this!”
In previous years the Hub has put on parties and concerts in celebration of Purim, but now Wolf says he’s hoping “The Whole Megillah” can become an annual partnership with KML.
“As [the Hub] grows, it has become increasingly important to be in the business of creating high-level content that pushes the community to understand what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century,” Wolf says. “I see this project as part of that evolution.”
“The Whole Megillah” takes place 8 p.m. March 17 and 18; 7 and 10 p.m. March 19 at the Jewish Theatre, San Francisco, 470 Florida St., S.F. $15-$20. www.jccsf.org.