Reading Brings to Life Diarist's Accounts of Holocaust
Scenes from Etty.
The Smith Theatre New Play Reading Series presents the one-woman
show Etty on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Earle
Recital Hall, Sage. Admission is free and open to the
Adapted and performed by Susan Stein and directed by Austin
Pendleton, Etty is based on the diaries and letters
of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman soon to be deported
from Holland in 1943.
Sharing the stage with
a suitcase, Etty speaks to the audience as she tries to
gain clarity and insight into her life while preparing
for her three-day journey to the East. Music from the Westerbork
Cabaret is woven into sharp accounts of the transports,
the fields of lupins, the barbed wire, and the untenable
situation of Jews in the Jewish Council. Etty’s
story is a struggle against despair. She tries to engage
the horror rather than shrink from it. By confronting the
truth of what is happening she creates a new form of resistance
that poses a larger question and ultimately liberates her.
Etty’s words, insights and beliefs reach out from the
Holocaust and allow the audience to see the power of hope
and individual thought in the most extreme circumstances.
After reading Etty’s diaries in 1943, Susan Stein
embarked on this theatrical project with the intent of keeping
Etty’s story alive. Etty has been performed
in New York City and internationally. The presentation of Etty at
Smith will allow Stein to further develop her piece based
on audience feedback.
Prior to this endeavor, Stein appeared in Arthur Miller's American
Clock, also directed by Austin Pendleton at HB Playwrights
Foundation. She was seen on Luna Stage as the wife in Bathsheeba
Doran’s A Parent’s Evening. Other
roles include Louise in Lanford Wilson’s The
Great Nebulae of Orion, W1 in Beckett’s Play,
and Wanda in Christopher Durang’s Wanda’s
Austin Pendleton has had
an extensive career that spans more than 40 years. He is
a well-known American film, television, and stage actor,
a playwright, and a theatre director and teacher. He previously
directed Lillian Hellman’s The
Children’s Hour at Smith. He was seen as Friar
Lawrence at the Delacorte Theatre’s 2007 production
of Romeo and Juliet and he played the Army Chaplain
in their 2006 production of Mother Courage. He is
an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and
the author of Orson’s Shadow, Uncle Bob and Booth.
for additional information about Etty.