The Pearland Theatre Guild is proud to participate in the National Jewish Theater Foundation - Holocaust Theater International Initiative - Remembrance Readings 2017 in Honor of Elie Wiesel. NJTF HTII at UM Miller Center Remembrance Readings is composed of simultaneous events drawing upon the power of Theater to honor Holocaust victims and survivors. We know this effort will stimulate an appreciation of how the Art of Theater can and must be used as a tool to deepen the understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons in contemporary society.
We will present a staged reading of I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Celeste Raspanti and 3 Dialogs by Elie Wiesel from his book, A Jew Today.
Date: April 24
The Pearl Theater
14803 Park Almeda Dr.
Houston, TX 77047
This event is Pay What You Will
About the Plays:
I Never Saw Another Butterfly is based upon a true story, the play follows Raja Englanderova’s experience as a young girl living in the Jewish ghetto of Terezin during the Holocaust. During this time of despair, there is a small beacon of hope for all of the children trapped in Terezin. Her name is Irena Synkova, and she has dedicated her life to being a teacher for the children. She encourages them to creatively express their feelings through drawings and poems. The real-life compilation of the artwork from the children of Terezin is featured in the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly, edited by Hana Volavková. Meanwhile, Raja also befriends a young man living in the ghetto, Honza. Their friendship blooms despite the danger of the Nazis discovering their relationship. Together they unite the segregated boys’ and girls’ houses, in the form of a secret newspaper. Although Raja’s story is permeated with loss and aguish, it is also infused with love and hope. Journey with Raja as she learns the only way to survive is through the companionship forged out of this shared experience.
3 Dialogs: "A Father and His Son;" "A Mother and Her Daughter;" "A Man and His Little Sister" from the book, A Jew Today.
In the three scenes or dialogs, “A Father and His Son,” “A Mother and Her Daughter,” and “A Man and His Little Sister” from the book A Jew Today by Elie Wiesel, we listen to the poignant and intimate conversations between loved ones in the moments before death. A survivor son talks to the spirit of his father who died during the Holocaust. Together they grapple with feelings of anger and sadness, realizing mankind’s reluctance to learn. A mother calms her daughter as they approach the gates of a concentration camp at night, knowing that their lives, as well as the lives of all those in front and behind them in the line, are about to end. And the older brother of a little girl promises he will never forget her as she perishes from cold. He reassures his sister that her memory will live on, and vows to find out who is responsible for her death. The scenes underscore the innocence of these ordinary people caught up in a struggle they cannot comprehend.
About the Authors
Celeste Raspanti is a US playwright who has published and produced several full-length and one-act plays. Raspanti has a special interest in the Holocaust, which she first brought to the stage with I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a play based on the real-life story of Holocaust survivor Raja Englanderova and stories from the Theresienstadt concentration camp. (A well-known book of drawings and poetry produced by children at Terezin has been published under the same title.) Subsequent plays on this topic include No Fading Star and The Terezin Promise. Raspanti has been acclaimed for enriching her stories with firsthand information of the camps from visits, oral histories, and her friendship with survivors - most notably, with Raja Englanderova, the protagonist of I Never Saw Another Butterfly.
Elie Wiesel moved to New York City in 1955 and subsequently became an American citizen. In the U.S. he wrote over 40 books and won many literary prizes. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression and racism.
About the Director
Curtis Barber - Curtis currently is a digital puppeteer and voice actor for Nickelodeon in the SPONGEBOB SUBPANTS ADVENTURE at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Tx. He just closed THE ODD COUPLE at The Pearl Theater in April. Previous directing credits include ALL SHOOK UP, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH (Pearl Theater) , DATE FOUR (Pandora Theater), BUSYTOWN THE MUSICAL (Fort Bend Theater), and DARK PLAY: OR STORIES FOR BOYS (PSH Foundation Theater). Curtis graduated with a BFA in Acting from Texas State University in 2012.