18th December


Golem Theatre, Budapest (Hungary)

Director: Borgula András

Written by: Joshua Harmon



Golem Theatre, Budapest (Hungary)

Director: Borgula András

Written by: Joshua Harmon

Dramaturge: Németh Virág

Scenography: Simon Ferenc István

Costume: Katics Veronika


Kanyó Kata
Kádár Kinga
Kerekes Márton
Hencz András



Daphna Feygenbaum is a “real Jew”; even her boyfriend is Israeli, so it must be so. She really wants to inherit his grandfather’s necklace. A day after her grandfather’s funeral, when her cousin Liam brings his gentile girlfriend home and announces that the dreaded necklace belongs to him, trouble breaks out. A real Jewish mess about family, faith and heritage.

After London’s West End and New York’s Broadway, the “blisteringly funny” (Sunday Times) Bad Jews are finally coming to Budapest. Joshua Harmon’s “shockingly good” (Independent) play is having its Hungarian premiere in the Golem Theatre.



Joshua Harmon (born 1983) is a New York City-based playwright, whose works

include Bad Jews [1]  and Significant Other, [2]  both produced Off-Broadway. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Juilliard [3]  where he worked with playwrights Christopher Durang [4]  and Marsha Norman.

Harmon is the recipient of 2 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Play and 2 Outer

Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play. His plays have been produced

on Broadway, off-Broadway, on the West End and internationally in a dozen countries.

Christopher Wallenberg, in The Boston Globe ”…penchant for biting commentary suffuses Harmon’s fiercely funny yet poignant plays.” Harmon said “I think I became really engaged by plays that are character-driven and that are grappling with some kind of moral question.”




In the spring of 2005, I walked in to the Civic Department of the Budapest City Court with a

completed form in my hand, and submitted the request for the foundation of the Golem Theater.

– What will this be? – asked the administrator without looking on me.

– This one? This will be the Hungarian Jewish Theatre! – I tried to emphasize the capital letters


– What? – He lowered his voice, even though he did not say the word „jew”. – Are you serious?

I was really serious. And no matter how much I like comedy, and how important humour is to me, I still seriously think that theatre is needed; and the Golem Theatre is needed!

I hope that in the last decade we have surpassed the idea, that in Jewish theatre „Jews talk Jewish to Jews about Jewish things”. That, who has visited or heard about the Golem Theatre, knows that this is not true! They (You) who are our audience, know that here in Golem we talk about the same things as any other theatre would (love, vengeance, betrayal, friendship, family, life and death). We have the same goal as many other artists (to make the world a better place, to make people think, accept, and get them curious.) Then the question arises again: why should I go right to the Golem Theatre? We do not have one specific answer to that… we have many answers (This is an ancient Jewish habit.). What we believe in is that we can see these stories differently through special glasses of Jewish religion, tradition, history, destiny, tribe, culture (or whatever „Jewish” really means), so we can tell these stories differently. We tell them right as Golem Theatre can, dares and does! This has been the case

so far, and will be so, no matter what kind of changes will come in politics, public life, finances or whatsoever!

I can certainly promise this one for the next season too!


András Borgula, Artistic director




András Borgula is a director, writer, translator, founder of the Golem Theater. From 1990 to 1994, he attended the Madách Imre Gymnasium in Budapest, where he was a member of the Thalia studio, as well as the Harlequin children’s theater. He lived in Israel since 1995. After serving three years in the Israeli army, he applied to study acting and directing at the university in Tel Aviv. After completing his studies, he returned to Hungary, where he worked in the capital’s Katona József and Bárka theatres. In 2005, he founded the association, as well as the Golem theater, which is the only real Jewish theater in Budapest. He translates dramatic texts from Hebrew, is engaged in writing and stage design.



Golem Theatre’s new production, the cheekily honest Bad Jews by contemporary American playwright Joshua Harmon, brings to its stage a dark comedy at its best.

The intention of the director András Borgula was to overshadow, and indeed to disprove the naive belief that Jewish families are held together by love. What storms rage beneath the surface? What makes Jews good or bad is relative. What does true Jewish family love look like? And hatred? Joshua Harmon’s “comedy” is about American youth, but what he satirizes could happen anywhere; a typical, evergreen and universal phenomenon.

A great character parody is what drives the play. No, this is not a comedy, but a bloody drama filled with hysterical emotions that will not make you cry. A spicy, bizarre and murderous work that delves into great depths and is brutally funny at the same time. The action takes place during one night, where after the funeral of a grandfather who survived the Holocaust, three grandchildren clash over a strange inheritance.

In the opening scene, Daphna Feygenbaum is “tidying up” her tired cousin John in his small apartment. We learn that Liam and Jonah’s parents, unlike her parents, are rich and that’s why they were able to buy their children this bungalow with a gorgeous view of the Hudson River. Suddenly, Jonah’s older brother, Liam, and his blonde, blue-eyed girlfriend, Melody, who missed their grandfather’s funeral, arrive home from skiing. Liam’s phone fell off the cable cars, so they are not aware of the situation.

Seeing Daphna’s ramblings, the two guys run away and try to find shelter for the night at their parents’ apartment, where Daphne’s parents are also sleeping. In their absence, Daphna self-consciously humiliates Melody. The brothers return, unsuccessfully. They find it difficult to share their space with Daphna. Especially when he wants something so obsessively.

Her desire causes an increasingly loud discussion. The item in question is a family heirloom, the grandfather’s necklace with a Chai pendant, a piece of jewelry whit its own history, the memory of the Holocaust is attached to it, and it also represented grandfather’s love for his wife. A double symbol representing a strong bond. Both Daphna and Liam claim that. Daphna is a strict guardian of faith and tradition, and Liam, although disinterested in religious rules, oscillates between spiritual heritage and a modern outlook on life. Neither of them wants to understand the other’s point of view, and all this is followed by a blood-curdling quarrel and a desire to destroy the other. They have already lost the ability to judge. Who owns the deceased’s necklace? The overbearing Daphna, or her well-to-do cousin Liam, or his girlfriend Melody who isn’t Jewish at all, or Jonah, whose words we don’t even hear?

Daphna considers herself a true Jew, but in reality, she is an impatient religious fanatic. She wants to marry her Israeli boyfriend and move out, get firearms and have kids. She constantly gossips about everyone who is not traditional enough. She is completely crazy and acting like an idiot. You can’t breathe from her. Behind her sense of superiority and self-confidence insecurity may be hidden. She has a problem with Melody, but she also considers her long-dead grandmother a stupid bitch. (The play, by the way, is pleasantly freeing.) She’s obviously not happy, and she’s damn jealous, both of the lovers and of the wealthy. She may not be unbearable, there is depth to her character, and Kanyó Kata as Daphna is fantastically hysterical.

Her cousin Liam, a worthy partner, is also a stubborn personality who argues passionately; he considers Jewish customs a bad thing, in fact he doesn’t really care about Judaism, and he likes modern Japanese culture (this being his PhD studies.) and Gentile women. An enlightened, smart guy, of course, finds Daphna’s weak point: does this Israeli called Gilad even exist?

Hencz András plays (screams) the role of Liam, shaking off the cold Daphna tensely and authentically. His girlfriend Melody is outside the family circle, unfortunately a Christian. She is a good soul, but unfortunately, she is not the brightest. She studied opera, although she wouldn’t sing… She’s the only one who has understanding, although she’s not a very complicated person, and in the end she loses her temper too. At the height of the argument, she tries to resolve the tension with an awkward smile-inducing gesture; She sings an excerpt from a Gershwin opera. Kádár Kinga as Melody is charmingly quirky, with a treble clef tattoo on her leg. Katics Veronika did a great job with the costumes. Jonah – Kerekes Márton got the role of the silent madman – he can’t even get the words out. He defends himself with simple sentences. He would rather stay out of the battle over the necklace. Discreetly helps Daphna and Liam in their conflict. He seems normal, but in the end the cliché that everyone is normal until we meet them turns out to be true.

Breathtaking comic situations enhance the already serious dramaturgy. To develop the pathological characters, a young but strong cast was, of course, necessary, because they are not only fighting for their grandfather’s necklace, but also dissecting what it means to be Jewish. What and who does Liam betray when he marries his Gentile girlfriend? Should we be asking this question at all? And why doesn’t Jonah express his opinion? The comedy turns into an identity drama about faith and family. Dialogues escalate into screaming monologues; Daphna and Liam have their way, sometimes philosophically, but mostly vulgarly.

The catastrophic collapse is worked out step by step. By the end of the play, the bed-strewn stage turns into a bloody battlefield. Simon Ferenc István’s scene, a somewhat minimalistic-constructivist studio apartment, perfectly supports the plot, and like a match, an infantile computer game that starts on the TV screen conveys the stages of a family quarrel.

Contact Info

Novi Sad Theatre

Jovana Subotića 3-5
21000 Novi Sad

Phone: +381 21 657 25 27

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