He's the most produced playwright in the history of French theatre, but one of his most recent works is about Germany. It's Israel Horovitz, and his drama, Lebensraum, having its Philadelphia premiere at the InterAct Theatre Company, May 26-June 20. The show played in New York at the Miranda Theatre in fall 1997.
Interact Artistic Director Seth Rozin stages Lebensraum, which has three performers -- Harry Philibosian, Catharine Slusar and Scott Greer -- playing 40-plus characters.
Lebensraum premiered at Horovitz's home base, Gloucester Stage in Massachusetts. The show's intriguing premise has the German Chancellor awaking from a nightmare and calling a press conference to invite six million Jews to return to Germany. Among those affected by the invitation are an American boy and German girl, who end up falling in love. "Haunting memories clash with a family's dream of a better life" as younger and older generations clash over the offer. Translated from German, Lebensraum means "living space" or more idiomatically, "elbow room." Adolph Hitler used the term to justify Germany's expansion into Eastern Europe.
Horovitz's last Broadway visit was with Park Your Car In Harvard Yard, but he's also known for the plays Rats, The Primary English Class, Indian Wants The Bronx and Today I Am A Fountain Pen. His one-act, Line, has been running in repertory at the 13th Street Theatre for more than 26 years.
Designing Lebensraum at Interact are Robert Kramer (sets), Peter Whinnery (lighting) and :arosa Ratnikoff (costumes). For tickets ($12-$20) and information on Lebensraum, which begins previews May 26, opens May 28 and runs to June 20, call (215) 569-9700.
--By David Lefkowitz