INOLA MCGUIRE @ THE 13TH STREET REPERTORY THEATER
The 13th Street Repertory Theatre
50 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The performance that I saw is “Silent Witnesses” written and performed by Stephanie Satie, directed by Anita Khanzadian, and stage managed by Taylor Mankowski.
The performance opens up with a song and the performer dances on stage for the audience to see. Her introduction of the subject matter of her one-woman show allows the audience to anticipate what’s on her mind, and the audience soon realizes how deeply affected the survivors were after many decades of freedom. The women found their voices through the telling of their ordeal during the Holocaust, the genocide of European Jews in World War II, WWII.
The audience meets Hanna, Dana, Paula, Amelie, and others, the Silent Witnesses, throughout the show at different stages of their childhood experiences. One of the silent witnesses’ story resonates with the audience as the performer tells Hanna’s story in sequential order. Then the audience hears Paula’s story with the emotion and the locations for the audience to understand without hesitation. The audience gets to travel within Europe in its mind to places like Krakow, Poland; Amsterdam, Holland, Belgium, Ukraine, Romania, and Venice, Italy while the performer delivers her monologue.
Amelie’s and Dana’s stories bring the audience closer to the horrors of war and the survival of the human spirit. The performer continues to enlighten the audience of the survivors’ stories with elegance and grace with the details of certain information in her range of facts.
Some of these witnesses lost their parents, their siblings, and other family members during the holocaust in the 1940s, and most Jewish people were subjected to wearing the Star of David on their arms as a way in which they were identified.
The performer’s account of the witnesses’ tribulations as children brings hope to the audience, for it realizes how courage help to give a voice to the most valuable in society. There were many acts of kindness among the stories the performer reiterates, for there were people who risked their lives during WWII to save Jewish people and Jewish children. Steven Spielberg’s movie, Schindler’s List helps to bring closure to some survivors of the Holocaust. The world witnesses an act of kindness through the deeds of Mr. Schindler in the movie.
The reign of the Germans’ atrocities ended in 1945, and the Russians and the Americans helped to liberate those people who were in need to be rescued. The children’s personal stories help to magnify the whole experience of the horrors of war. Yet, as adults, some of these survivors had to respond to questions as to why they didn’t get out of Europe. These questions were asked to the adults who were children during WWII.
In the keeping up of appearances among world leaders a few years ago in Poland, through the auspices of the Jewish Council and the United States Government; political figures like Dick Cheney and Vladimir Putin were among the dignitaries at the memorial in Auschwitz. Paula was present at the memorial service and she did not give her speech. She was told as per the performer’s monologue that there was no time. With the persistence of the performer, Paula was able to give her speech, courtesy of the living; and she made a difference because the whole world listened that day.
The writer gets her message across to the audience in many ways, for she presented the life stories of many survivors during the Holocaust of European Jews by Adolph’s Hitler’s regime. The adults’ childhoods were taken away from them, but they managed to reveal their stories in order to find their voices, some of which were painful to relive in their minds. Through the tenacity of the writer and the women who survived as children, the world gets an education and an understanding from first-hand experiences and the lens of the silent witnesses in WWII.