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The heartfelt, lyrical portrait of a German Jewish refugee haunted by her past, but resiliently moving toward the future, witnessed over the course of generations of the same family that inhabits a single apartment from 1949 to 2016.
A German Jewish refugee is haunted by her past, but resiliently moves toward the future. Antaeus Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Eight Nights, a story developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab that honors the global refugee experience. Written by Jennifer Maisel and directed by Emily Chase, Eight Nights opens at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale on Nov. 8, where performances continue through Dec. 16. Low-priced previews begin Oct. 31.
Set during eight different nights of Chanukah over the course of eight decades, Eight Nights tells the story of Holocaust survivor Rebecca Blum, who arrives in America at age 19 to forge a new life. As Rebecca moves through time, the play explores the lives that come and go in her New York apartment, where ghosts of the past both haunt and guide her. Maisel lyrically weaves together heart-aching moments with life-affirming humor to call out the trauma experienced not only by concentration camp survivors, but by African American descendants of slavery, by interned Japanese Americans, and by current victims of war in Africa and the Middle East.
“It was essential to me — seeing the parallels between the Syrian refugee crisis in 2017, when I started writing the play, and the Jewish refugee crisis of the 1930s — that this piece be an exploration of the universality of that experience and its overlap with other communities,” explains Maisel. “It’s about people finding a way to live after surviving loss and trauma, and witnessing how that brings joy to the future.”
According to Antaeus artistic directors Bill Brochtrup and Kitty Swink, “Actors play multiple roles in creating this tapestry of the generations of one indomitable family. Director Emily Chase is a longtime ensemble member and the current director of the Playwrights Lab, where she’s been intimately involved with the development of this play. Her sensitivity and deep understanding of the culture and material made the LAB RESULTS reading last year a highlight of the festival, and we’re elated that she’s on board to helm this beautiful play.”
Developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Eight Nights was staged as part of the company’s LAB RESULTS series at the end of 2018 and was a semi-finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. It has been workshopped as part of Playmakers’ and UNC at Chapel Hill’s Process series, Bay Street Theatre’s Title Wave series, at the Gulf Shore New Play Festival and the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, and had readings as part of Playwrights' Union First Peek series and Moving Arts Seasons Readings. In addition, the play is receiving a unique series of benefit staged readings across the U.S. in 2019: The 8 Nights of Eight Nights series, created in the wake of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, includes readings on eight different nights in eight different cities, including Chicago New York Washington, DC San Francisco. San Diego, Seattle, Mercer Island, WA and Stowe, Vermont, with proceeds going to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). The benefit series was created by Rachel Leventhal, a long-time collaborator of Maisel’s who had attended the LAB RESULTS reading at Antaeus. “I couldn’t get the play out of my mind,” she says. “I was so struck by the story’s relevance to this moment in history. In the year that has passed since this attack, current events have sadly continued to underscore the importance of remembering the events of the past, to actively work against repeating them.”
Eight Nights opens on Friday, Nov. 8 and continues through Dec. 16 previews begin Oct. 31. Performances take place on Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. check the website for the performance schedule for the three-week period between Nov. 8 and Nov. 25, when performances will run in rotation with The Abuelas. Seating is reserved, with all tickets priced at $35 except preview tickets, which are $15.
The Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center is located at 110 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205 (between N. Brand Blvd. and Artsakh Ave.). The first 90 minutes of parking is free, then $2 per hour, in Glendale Marketplace garage located at 120 Artsakh Ave. (between Broadway and Harvard). The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 818-506-1983 or go to www.antaeus.org.
Presenter / Producer: Antaeus Theatre Company
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 818-506-1983
Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center
110 East Broadway
Glendale CA 91205
North Hollywood / Burbank / Glendale
Performance Dates: 10/31/2019 - 12/16/2019
Fri.,Sat.,Mon. 8:00 pm Sun. 2:00 pm Previews Tues., Wed.,Thurs. 8:00 pm
Tickets $35 (previews $15)
Web Link for ticketing
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