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August 22, 2003 - Image 63

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Best of

crain's

Detroit Business
3/Its— Oakland
- Macomb Press
Daily
3*s - Detroit
News/
e Press

Theatre and the Magic
Theatre in San Francisco. He
has directed at the Bay Area
Playwrights Festival and has
guest-starred in a number of
television and film projects.
Last year, Talmadge led the
Victory Project, a dramatic
workshop for New York-area
teens at Columbia University.
The project teamed experi-
enced playwrights with
young people who had been
affected by the events of
Sept. 11 to create and per-
form one-act plays based on
their experiences. The per-
formances were hosted by
actors Kevin Kline and
Phoebe Cates.
Among his other works,
the one-act play Kiss Goodbye
the Howling Beast was a final- "Shall We Dance?"• The scene in which the King
ist at the Actors Theatre of
of Siam (Victor Talmadge) and Anna Leonowens
Louisville Short Play
(Lucy Peacock) dance the polka together is "a
Competition.
metaphysical coming togethen" says Talmadge.
In his most widely per-
formed play, The Gate of
Heaven, written with
return and do classical drama.
Japanese-American actor Lane
"Everything is catered toward support-
Nishikawa, Talmadge drew upon his
ing and nurturing talent," he says.
strong feelings about the Holocaust
This fall, Talmadge plans to work-
and what it means to be an American.
shop several new plays he's written,
The two-actor play premiered at the
calling on the talents of other
United States Holocaust Memorial
Stratford actors to give life to words
Museum in April 1995, the 50th
that have so far existed only on paper.
anniversary of the liberation of Dachau.
Among these new plays is one with
It featured Talmadge and Nishikawa,
a Jewish theme. It focuses on the per-
whose uncle was in an all-Japanese unit
sonal meaning to a modern woman of
of the United States Army that was part the suicides on Masada, which
of the liberation of Dachau, in the
Talmadge toured on a visit to Israel
parts of a concentration camp survivor
two years ago.
and an American soldier.
Talmadge also will appear in a new
"If God forbid I should suddenly
movie about a nearly mythical race-
die and go to heaven, this would have
horse, slated for release Oct. 3.
been the high point of my life,"
Called Hidalgo, the $90-million epic
Talmadge says.
is based on a true story about a late
The play begins when the Japanese-
19th-century American horseman who,
American character, Sam, helps the
along with his horse, Hidalgo, was
Jewish character, Leon, out of Dachau. challenged by an Arabian sheik to run a
The two find each other again in the
3,000-mile race in the desert. In the
United States and gradually become
movie, which starts Omar Sharif and
friends.
Viggo Mortensen, Talmadge plays a
"The arc of Lane's character is to find Norwegian American shipping tycoon.
his voice as an American," Talmadge
Are there any more productions of
says. "The arc of my character, Leon, is
The King and Ion the horizon?
the need to find family after the
"Never say never," says Talmadge.
Holocaust. By the end of the play, my
"Ask me again in five years." ❑
character realizes that he is closer to his
Japanese-American friend than to the
few remnants of his family that are left.
The King and I runs in repertory
"Whenever we perform it, both
through Nov. 23 at Canada's
Japanese-American and Holocaust sur-
Stratford Festival.
vivors thank us with tears in their
Tickets can be ordered online
eyes," Talmadge says.
at www.stratfordfestival.ca or by
Stratford is a unique place,
phone at (800) 567-1600.
Talmadge remarks, and he'd love to

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63

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