The Dykebuk

It strikes me that there's room in this world for a production of S. Ansky's The Dybbuk interpreting the play as lesbian allegory. If one simply shifts Channon from male to female, the play takes on whole new layers of meaning. The betrayed pre-birth promised betrothal of Channon and Leah has a different significance -- Sender knows Leah is not meant for any husband, but his mind cannot stretch to the prospect that the promise might extend to his old friend's female child. Channon's intense desire to seek a purifying meaning even in "sin" still resonates, but with very different overtones. If one were so inclined, the rabbis' response and exorcism in the final acts could probably be mined for suggestions of intolerance and misunderstanding, but I don't think that's necessary: the play already touches directly on so many gay themes -- the pressures of being closeted, the experience of being an outsider at straight society's rituals, the search for identity and divinity through sexuality, and more -- that it doesn't need a particularly heavy touch to make this interpretation work. It has sex and God and history already, and the key is not to take those away or to add to them, but to let them express themselves a little differently, shall we say.