Shadow of Genocide Haunts a Humanitarian in the Afterlife, in Return of Lemkin's House

News   Shadow of Genocide Haunts a Humanitarian in the Afterlife, in Return of Lemkin's House Lemkin's House, an expressionist-tinged play by Catherine Filloux about the man who coined the word "genocide," and his anguish over its toleration in the modern world, returns to New York City Sept. 13.

Presented by Body Politic Theater and Vital Theatre Company, the production will reunite players from the well-received Off-Off-Broadway staging seen February 2006.

The new run, at the McGinn Cazale Theatre, will play Sept. 13-Oct. 8. Jean Randich again directs.

In the 80-minute, intermissionless Lemkin's House, the title character, Raphael Lemkin, is tormented in the afterlife by the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides, and the international community's failure to stop them.

The play won the 2006 Peace Writing Award from the OMNI Center for Peace.

The earlier run marked the U.S. premiere of the play by American writer Filloux (The Beauty Inside, Eyes of the Heart, Silence of God). The drama premiered in the Bosnian language in Sarajevo, Bosnia in 2005, and was read at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in 2005. The returning cast — limber in multiple roles — features John Daggett, Christopher Edwards, Laura Flanagan, Christopher McHale and Connie Winston.

Raphael Lemkin was a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent. In 1933 he was appointed to a legal council of the League of Nations conference on international criminal law in Madrid. Lemkin, who lost many relatives in the Holocaust, wrote and spoke often about human barbarity and in 1944 published "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe," which included the definition of the new word "genocide." ("Genos" is Greek for family, tribe or race, and "cide" is Latin for killing.) His concept was accepted by the world as an offense against international law and was one of the legal bases of the Nuremberg Trials.

Lemkin continued to campaign for laws against genocide after the war. He achieved success in 1951 at the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Lemkin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1951 and 1952, but did not win. He died in 1958.

Designers are Sue Rees (set), Matthew E. Adelson (lighting), Camille Assaf (costume), Robert Murphy (sound). Joanna Jacobsen is stage manager, Megan Schwarz is assistant stage manager.

Tickets are $25. The performance schedule is Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 7 PM.

The McGinn Cazale is at Broadway at 76th Street (fourth floor). For ticket information, call (212) 352-3101.

For more information, visit www.bodypolitictheater.org.

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Talkbacks will follow select performances of the play. Participants will include former Manhattan borough president Ruth Messinger; human rights activist Dr. William Korey; film-maker Kavery Kaul ("The Long Way from Home"); and others.

For a complete schedule of talkbacks, visit www.bodypolitictheater.org.

John Daggett and Christopher Edwards in <i>Lemkin's House</i>.
John Daggett and Christopher Edwards in Lemkin's House. Photo by Carol Rosegg
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