Theater Review 88.
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The independent Nephesh (Soul) Theater is premiering two productions next month, one for youth, the other for adults.
Hana’s Suitcase by Emil Sher, based on the book by Karen Levine, opens March 27 at the Holon Mediatheque. It’s translated and adapted by Beatrice Hall and directed by Nephesh founding artistic director Howard Rypp. This isn’t “another Holocaust drama.” It’s real. It reminds us not only of man’s inhumanity to man but also of mercy, hope and what a single person’s caring can accomplish.
In 1998, Fumiko Ishioka began working at the Tokyo Holocaust Resource Education Center. In the spring of 2000 she curated an exhibition of children’s drawings received from the Terezin (Theresientstadt) camp together with a suitcase and other artifacts she’d received from the Auschwitz Museum. The suitcase belonged to 13-year-old Hana Brady (some of the drawings were also hers), gassed on October 23, 1944, the day she arrived in Auschwitz. But Ishioka kept digging, and her meeting with Hana’s survivor brother in Canada opened the floodgates of memory and documentation.
The play, working in past and present, traces the story of Hana and her brother via the suitcase. It has been seen all over the world. Ishioka will see the play in Holon on April 10.
And what happens when a Jewish peddler loses his way in a forest and is taken in by a Christian lady? It’s all told in Yosefa Even-Shushan’s adaptation of S.Y. Agnon’s The Lady and the Peddlar, which opens at Cameri IV on March 14.