by Joey Lubelfeld


I first read Israel Horovitz’s Lebensraum in college as research for another play I was directing, and I was profoundly moved by the piece. As an artist, my mission is to find the intersection between arts and activism, using my theatrical platform as a tool for education, awareness, and political action. Directing this piece allows me to continue my practice as a director, while allowing me to explore the new performance elements in staging this dynamic piece with three actors playing over forty characters. In such tumultuous political climate,we must rally our audiences to reflect extra critically on their community, their actions, and their selves through the practice of storytelling, the practice of evoking an empathetic lens with which they can view the world. To allow this production to have a larger and more lasting impact, I am looking to build partnerships with local Jewish organizations: synagogues, non-for-profits, learning institutions to participate in post-show discussions about certain themes of the play and other topics of interest in the Jewish community that can be further explored with a non-denominational-specific audience. Post-show discussions will increase our sense of community, foster a healthy dialogue amongst religious backgrounds, and provide a safe space to discuss the events of the play.


Lebensraum imagines a world in which the German Chancellor invites 6,000,000 Jews to return to Germany with full citizenship as reparations for the Holocaust. Given the current political climate of antisemitism and a more public rise of neo-Nazism, this piece feels more relevant than ever and is a story we fully believe needs to be told. This piece employs a great deal of performative staging and theatrical elements. The playwright encourages the use of puppetry and inventive measures to tell the story, maintaining a level of entertainment throughout the often-grim piece. As a Jewish theatre artist I am interested in exploring this story of present-day anti-semitism and the relationship between the Jewish people and Germany. 3 actors play the more than 40 roles, switching in and out of character with a simple costume change. Storytelling is my main focus with this piece: minimal design elements will ensure that in the staging and execution focus the piece on the textual themes, and forces a theatricality in performance that is inventive and impactful.


I am planning on a 4-week rehearsal process containing 5 days, 4 hours each (total of 20 hours); a 1-week technical rehearsal process containing technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and a preview performance; and, a 4-week run of the production, performing Thursdays-Sundays, totaling 16 performances. Rehearsals will be time to discuss the text, stage the play, and solve any and all problems until we have achieved a cohesive performance. Designers will attend production meetings with myself, create drafts of their work, and have everything installed/executed during the technical rehearsals.


Our minimum total budget and fundraising ask comes out to $10,264. While we love our friends, family, and community, it is hard to guarantee audiences at any performance. Thus, we are not accounting for any ticket revenue in our budget. All of our funds are going to be raised during our pre-production period. That’s where you come in! In the spirit of transparency, we’d like to show you how funds will be utilized:


Rights to produce the play - $1,200

Scripts - $80

Rehearsal and tech space - $1,400

Performance space - $1,440

Artist fees - $900

Creative Team fees - $1,900

Production team fees - $600

Administrative fees - $700

Design elements - $1,000

Marketing fees - $525

Miscellaneous/contingency fees - $290


Should we surpass the goal through Hatchfund, additional surplus would be divided in a profit-share manner. Since we are not budgeting for ticket revenue, a portion of funds received through ticket sales will be donated to Jewish-related non-for-profits that seek to better communities and strive for peace throughout the world.


I wholeheartedly thank you for your support in realizing this passion project of ours. I believe this project not only informs and expands my artistic practice, but also betters the community/audiences in Chicago. Much love.


Match Funds are not currently available.

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