Semitic Stunts

Jewish lesbian performer Sara Felder opens a new season of COCA's Women CenterStage Series

Sara Felder performs June Bride

COCA, 524 Trinity Ave.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19 and 20. Call 314-534-1111 for tickets, priced from $15-$20. Felder also offers a juggling workshop at 11 a.m. Jan. 21; cost is $25.

It's probably safe to say that Sara Felder has carved out a niche for herself as a performer that does not invite much competition. Her current one-woman show, June Bride, is advertised as "a typical Jewish lesbian wedding with juggling." Felder has fused her skills as monologist and juggler into a piece that explores the situation of two women falling in love and deciding to get married, Jewish-style.

"June Bride is about love, justice, juggling and the American way," says the performer. "It's about two women who want to get married and what that means in terms of their religious faith and what that means to their families and to society and, most importantly, what it means to them."

University City's Center of Contemporary Arts kicks off a new season of its Women CenterStage Series with two performances of June Bride this weekend. The show -- which Felder has performed in various venues for about five years -- features "the famous "circumcision juggle,' which talks about the pros and cons of circumcision while juggling large knives," the artist says. Its "most bizarre and powerful moment," she adds, arrives in the form of a straitjacket escape while she is balanced on a board teetering on a cylinder, all happening while the audience sings an encouraging song.

The multitalented performer has been involved in quite a variety of projects, including touring with various circuses and in Joel Grey's Borscht Capades, performing in Yiddish-culture festivals, teaching juggling to prison inmates and writing a romantic-comedy play about the making of the atomic bomb.

Locals may remember Felder's Beyond Brooklyn solo show a few years back under the auspices of Joan Lipkin's That Uppity Theatre Company. The performer's next project, she says, called Shtick, will compare the lives of a turn-of-the-century vaudevillian and a turn-of-the-next-century performance artist.

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