Friday, December 7, 2007

Not to miss ...

THE HOLOCAUST KID, a staged reading of Sonia Pilcer's new play featuring critically acclaimed actors Jonathan Epstein and Elizabeth Aspenlieder, takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 9th in Founders' Theater, at Shakespeare & Company, 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, Massachusetts. Tickets are a suggested donation of $18 and are available at the door. The play is performed in two acts and runs approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Founders' is wheelchair-accessible. For information, please visit:

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"I don't ever remember not knowing. The word Holocaust was not used in our home. "During the war" was how the stories began. Everyone told them. In lieu of living family, my parents belonged to a large network of Polish Jews. All were survivors. The women played canasta and the men, poker. As they tossed bright plastic chips and picked up cards, blue numbers flashing on the insides of their arms, the stories multiplied." Sonia Pilcer

"Wit and humor interface with stark realities and unanswerable question. Provocative fiction, not just for the Second Generation but for all our collective memories." Booklist

An adaptation of her 2001 novel of the same title, The Holocaust Kid, set in the late 1980's, takes us into the world of an adult child of the Holocaust, a Second Generation survivor who does her best to disassociate with her heritage and the horrors of her parents' past. Alternately dark, poignant, uproarious and irreverent, the play explores how the Holocaust, so many years after liberation, resonates in the lives of her characters.

Robert Walshdirects a cast of four including Elizabeth Aspenlieder as Zosha, born in a Displaced Persons camp, liberal minded and irreverent, a freelance writer; Jonathan Epstein as Heniek Palovsky, her distant father, a survivor of Auschwitz; Seth Kanor as Uly Oppenheim, Zosha's lover and a scholar of the Holocaust; and Nancy Rothman as Genia, Zosha's mother, who met Heniek in Poland after the war.

In 1987, Pilcer published an essay 2G. "We call ourselves 2G. Group shorthand for Second Generation, the survivors' children. While the survivors seem to have the ability to go on with their lives - the bar mitzvahs and weddings of their children are huge, festive affirmations of life - it is their children who spend much of their time, not to mention money, talking to Ph.D.'s and MSW's. In unaccented, well-reasoned English, we speak of anger, guilt, trying to separate ourselves from our parents and their Holocaust past. Secretly, we believe that nothing we can ever do will be as important as our parents' suffering."

After working on The Holocaust Kid for eighteen years and receiving nearly 40 rejections, Pilcer published it in 2001. While the book was well-reviewed in the States and abroad, she wanted to bring these themes to a wider audience. Towards that end, she developed a one-act play for Shakespeare & Company's 2003 Studio Festival of Plays. Since then, Pilcer has created a new two-act version.

This Staged Reading of The Holocaust Kid is co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires and Congregation Ahavath Sholom.

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