My Beloved and I went to NYC to see When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth written and directed by Franco Moschetti. It was presented at the Times Square Arts Center (303 42nd St) by the Manhattan Repertory Theater.
About: Two women in WWII Nazi Germany, a German cabaret singer and Jewish resistance fighter, make the ultimate sacrifice for each other amidst the horrific brutalities of WWII Nazi Holocaust.
Staring: Gudren Buhler (Klara), Michele Farbman (Miriam), Johannes Schwaiger (Wolfgang), Kazy Tauginas (Fritz), Franco Moschetti (Gunther), Sergey Nagorny (Joseph), Matt McAllister (Man 1), David Schwartz (Man 2), John Whitney (Nazi Solider 1), Igor Kaganskiy (Nazi Solider 2)
It is the story of 2 women in Nazi Germany – 1 German, 1 Jewish – and how their lives intersect. It is incredibly intense drama that deals with the Jewish resistance. And for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the show. I just have a mental block. It took David & I a while to figure out what it meant. But then again, we didn’t have the advantage of seeing the poster. The Jew were made to wear yellow stars so the Nazi’s could identify them easily. Ahhhhh….. ok now I get it.
After reading the blurb about the show, I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be something that I would like. I was right. But it was only because of the subject matter and my preference for light hearted plays. I’m not normally a drama fan. I like happy endings. As with the Holocaust – the ending wasn’t happy.
The theater is tiny. My living room is almost bigger. So if you don’t like tight spaces, you might be a little uncomfortable there. Also the seating are metal folding chairs, so if you need some padding for your bum, you will want to bring a cushion along. This place would be awesome for an audience participation event as the 1st row of seats is almost one with the stage.
The show runs about an hour and a half and there was no intermission.
Personal preference a side the show was very well done. The acting was very good. The characters were believable and well cast. And despite not liking the subject matter, I became immersed in the show.
The size of the theater made for an interesting challenge for the show. It switches frequently between locations in the town. Klara’s apartment, Nazi head quarters, the pub, etc. So each time the action moved to a different location the entire stage had to be reset. These changes really didn’t detract from the show however, as it gave you a moment to process the previous scene. As I said before, this is a very intense show and these little breaks were welcomed.
This show could also work on a larger stage where the stage could be split in two moving the action seamlessly from side to side.
I have a couple of nit-picky things to say. The stage hands should have all been in dark colors. One of the stage hands was wearing a light colored shirt (isn’t there a guideline: stage hands who are going to be seen on stage should wear black?) And at one point Klara, who is trying to avoid a phone call says she will unplug the phone from the wall. Nope. Not going to happen in 1940′s Germany. Phones were hard wired into walls until the late 1970′s. Either she cuts the phone line or takes the handset off the cradle. I said nit-picky.
I can’t say I enjoyed the show. It is a very intense and the subject matter is very uncomfortable. People who are very sensitive will not like this show. It is an uncomfortable look at the horror perpetrated on one group by another. It is a reminder to us all “we are all the same light in different bodies” and we should respect our fellow man.
A side from not liking the subject of the play, it was very well written and very well acted. Everyone else in my group liked it very much. I would love to see this group in another show – perhaps something with a happy ending.