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March 03, 2005 - Image 82

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-03-03

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

Arts Life

Never Forget

Meadow . Brook's next production combines live drama with oral histories of the Holocaust.

Special to the Jewish News

I

still believe that deep down
human beings are good at
heart." For more than 50 years,
these memorable words written by
Anne Frank have represented the
Holocaust to a worldwide audience.
But what if Anne had survived
those brutal years? Would she still
have been as altruistic after the expe-
rience of Auschwitz/Birkenau?
"I have no feelings of bitterness or
hate," wrote Eva Schloss, a child-
hood friend of Anne's in Holland,
who survived two German concen-
tration camps, "but, on the other
hand, I do not believe in the good-
ness of man."
In her 1988 memoir, Eva's Story,
Schloss used spare but wrenching
language to tell of the personal
strength and luck that pulled her
through those unimaginable times.
In the coming weeks, Detroit-area
theatergoers will have a chance to
meet the 76-year-old Schloss in con-
nection with the play And Then They

Tr!- 4 : 4f•

3/3
2005

58

Came For Me: Remembering the
World of Anne Frank, which runs
March 19-April 10 at Meadow
Brook Theatre in Rochester Hills.
Schloss, who acted as a consultant
for the multimedia play, will attend
the first two Meadow Brook per-
formances — 8 p.m. Saturday,
March 19, and 2 p.m. Sunday,
March 20 — and speak in person
with audience members. Other per-
sonal appearances are in the works.
The 76-year-old survivor, now a
British citizen, also appears in the
play itself. First, audiences will see
her in a remarkably self-possessed
video interview, along with Ed
Silverberg, another Holocaust sur-
vivor who was Anne Frank's first
boyfriend. And, on stage, Michelle
Held, one of six actors in the
Meadow Brook production, portrays
the teenaged Eva Geiringer — before
the roundup, before the enforced
separation from her family and slav-
ery of the camps.
Written in 1995 by American
playwright Frank Still, And Then
They Came For Me uses a small cast
of actors, each playing multiple

and has frequently been performed
by college actors.

Photos by Angie Baan

DIANA LIEBERMAN

Between The Generations

"OOne thing you really feel about
this play is that it's about families —
interrupted lives, children who were
robbed of their childhoods," said
Karen Sheridan, assistant professor
of theater at Oakland University,
who is directing the all-professional
Meadow Brook cast.
"These are people who could have
been anybody. It's a unique story
with universal resonance," she said.
As she read the play, Sheridan was
struck by the element of chance in

Above: Seen in rehearsal, Rachel
Kaiman of Windsor plays .Anne and
Paul Riopelle of Riverview plays Ed
in 'And Then They Came for Me:
Remembering the World of Anne
Frank."

Right: Michelle Held of Plymouth
portrays Eva and John Beidenbach of
Trenton is Heinz in the Meadow
Brook Theatre production.

Below: Director Karen Sheridan
addresses the all-professional cast

parts, to convey the impact of the
Holocaust in the lives of the three
teenagers and their families. At
times, the videotaped survivors
interact with the live actors,
including those who portray their
younger selves.
Among the cast members is
Rachel Kaiman, featured last
spring as Tzeitel, Tevye's oldest
daughter, in the Jewish Ensemble
Theatre's production of Fiddler On
The Roof. In this production, she
plays both Anne Frank and the
mother of Ed Silverberg.
The play is appropriate for high
school students as well as adults,

the stories of the survivors. "Eva
talks about it on stage," the director
said. "She had blonde hair, she says,
so, even though her brother was
picked up off the street, she herself
was passed over several times."
Another likely factor in Schloss's
survival was her assertive personality.
"Eva comes across as a spirited,
outgoing person," Sheridan said.
"There's a scene in the play where
her mother tells her she has to wear
her coat with the yellow star visible,
and Eva doesn't want to.
"It's difficult — her mother wants
to keep - her safe but not to scare her.
The fate of the families in the play

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