As published in EDGE on May 2nd, 2013.
“You are really beautiful, look at her,” a slick Mark Nadler, in a Paisley purple silk vest, grey striped button-down, and pinstripe suit coos, taking a woman from the audience’s hand and pulling her from her seat. Commanding her to twirl, she does, unsure what to expect, light upon her.
“Take your bag. Now hold it like this,” he states. As she turns to adjust it, he leaps into the seat next to her husband, and then into his lap. Nadler flirts with the unsuspecting gentleman as the audience laughs.
“I’m a Stranger Here Myself,” written and performed by Mark Nadler, discusses the expatriate experience during the Weimar Republic, recounting the worldwide cultural export as exiled Jews, stripped from their homes, joined creative and scientific communities elsewhere. Nadler parallels their experiences, relevant to his heritage, with his own childhood as an outsider. In a cabaret meets history lecture performance, he explains the context of relevant music of the time as a PowerPoint-style presentation displays black and white photographs of prominent Jewish exiles, popping out of geometric burgundy tiles. He jumps through the expat scenes – Hollywood, Bilbao, Paris, and Berlin – explaining how the Jewish artists established themselves in their forced new homes. At the piano, he sings in French or German, only to follow with a translation and an explanation of context. This string of descriptors makes it less of a concise, traditionally defined ’musical.’ The climax relates more to his personal life than a point in history. Within this framework, he discusses their (and his) difficulty in a want to assimilate, but a want to remain who they (and he) are.
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