Kira Obolensky looks at the Holocaust from the inside

Categories: Theater
Photo courtesy the Playwrights' Center
Kira Obolensky
During World War II, prisoners of the Theresienstadt ghetto--used as a transit camp for Auschwitz--were given space and time dedicated to pursuing the arts. For the German government, it was a way to hide their atrocities from the rest of the world. For the prisoners, it was an outlet to deal with the extraordinary, horrible events that had enveloped their world.

An adaptation of one of those works, Laugh With Us will be presented at a staged reading Monday at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. The performance features efforts by center member Kira Obolensky and theater historian Lisa Peschel.

Lisa Peschel.jpg
Photo courtesy the Playwrights' Center
Lisa Peschel
In the piece, its creators envisioned a post-Holocaust world for themselves, often using humor and word play to deal with their situation head on. For her doctoral work, Peschel interviewed Holocaust survivors in the Czech Republic, including some of the original writers and actors from various productions in the camp. Her research also led her to a copy of Laugh With Us.

Peschel connected with Obolensky via the center in 2009 to begin an adaptation, which merges the text from the original script (updated to make it connect with a modern audience) and the activities of a researcher based on Peschel.

A reading for Laugh With Us will be held at the Playwrights' Center at 7 p.m. Monday. The event is free. This project was made possible in part with the support of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

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