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  • Oliver Boon

Five Pieces of Paper: Andy Kaufman meets Fiddler on the Roof

Director: Martha Gehman

Writer/performer/co director: Moti Buchboot

Davidson/Valentini Theatre

Andy Kaufman: The variety of acts and Mighty Mouse of course!

Fiddler on the Roof: Because of the traditional Jewish songs and the time travel to a time and culture that had been attempted to be wiped out of this world but artists such as Moti will forever keep the traditions alive. And Tevye the Milkman of course!

In the space of about an hour, Moti Buchboot baked a cake, sang a couple numbers( from Jewish folk songs to Mighty Mouse) fired a needle from a blow gun with incredible precision, played a short movie, was voluntarily pelted with sweets by the audience (he asked us to), reenacted a WW2 radio broadcaster, performed with multiple puppets and did a pretty spot on Tevye the Milkman. All in the name of touching commemoration for his grandmother who, having survived the holocaust, documented 5 pieces of paper of her experiences. The show worked best in these moments of learning about Moti's family and upbringing. Moti was inspired to write this show after hearing about Charlottesville 2017 and was moved to tell the story of his heritage.

When Moti is channeling his grandmother’s holocaust experience through a puppet, there was chilling feeling throughout the audience. The puppet goes from her hospital bed to reliving being a prisoner at Auschwitz. Anybody that says puppets are just for kids would benefit watching the poignant moment when the puppet has her hair and clothes stripped away. Moti Buchboot manages to put so much life into a mere piece of fabric.

There were some moments that I felt could've been smoother. I found the puppet playing his younger self that was supposed to be the comedic relief but didn't quite work for me. There were times when the sheer number of props the performer has to handle end up being a little fiddly which can be awkward as an audience member.

The show is very personable. The audience is welcomed to have the cake made during the show after and talk with the actor which I really liked. The smell of chocolate coconut cake wafts during the show and you get a sense of some of the loving nostalgia that Moti himself, keeps so dear to him.

I'd recommend this for the story alone. But the cake helps too.

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