Classic Stage Company launches its Holocaust-theme series with two plays running in modified repertory: Ferdinand Bruckner's Race (Feb. 8 - March 11) and Victor Klemperer's I Will Bear Witness (Feb. 25 - April 1). Race starts previews Feb. 8 and opens Feb. 19.
As reported, Bruckner's Race involves the story of the effects of the Holocaust, specifically the "impact of the Nazi's rise to power on a group of medical students in Germany."
Adapted and directed by Classic Stage Company artistic director Barry Edelstein, Race involves the love affair between medical student Peter Karlanner (played by Stephen Barker Turner) and Helene Marx, his Jewish girlfriend (Jenny Bacon). Exiled in New York City during the Third Reich, playwright Bruckner began writing Race as he fled the Nazis and what he described in the play as "the storm breaking over Germany, all over Germany."
The Race cast also features Colleen Corbett, Robert L. Devaney, Mark H. Dold, Ron Guttman, Tim McGeever, Gregory Porter Miller, Tom Nolan, Aaron Nutter, Duncan Nutter, Marc Palmieri, Tommy Schrider, Kirsten Sahs, Jeremy Shamos and C.J. Wilson.
The creative team comprises set designer Neil Patel, costume designer Angela Wendt, lighting designer Russell H. Champa, projections by Jan Hartley, sound design by Robert Murphy. Bryan Scott Clark is stage manager. Classic is offering free special events in connection with Race. This educational programming includes post-performance "Tuesday Talks " on Feb. 13, 20, 27 and March 3 as well as the academic "Saturday Symposia" on Feb. 17, and Feb. 24.
Classics second play in the Holocaust series is I Will Bear Witness by Victor Klemperer. A German Jew who was married to a Gentile, Klemperer was never deported. As reported earlier, he kept a remarkable diary, recording in meticulous detail, "the humiliations and insults, absurdities and brutalities of a civilized society sliding into barbarism." The New York Times has described his work as "The best written, most evocative, most observant record of daily life in the Third Reich."
I Will Bear Witness, based on Klemperer’s diary, is being adapted by George Bartenieff and Karen Malpede, directed by Karen Malpede and performed by George Bartenieff as part of the "Classic Stages / New Visions" series this season. The show began rehearsals Feb. 5 at CSC.
Classic’s 2000-2001 season is devoted to Holocaust-themed plays running in modified repertory and in conjunction with a major academic conference on Holocaust Drama and related issues at New York University. I Will Bear Witness runs at CSC from Feb. 25-April 1 in "modified repertory" with Race.
Tickets for both shows range from $25 - $40 with theatre subscriptions and pay-what-you-can discounts available. The Classic Stage Company is located at 136 E. 13 St. For tickets call (212) 677-4210.
—By Murdoch McBride