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More than a Staged Reading for a New Sun

The Segal Theatre Center was nearly full last Thursday for the staged reading and discussion of Robin Rice Lichtig’s Searching for a New Sun. Introduced by Andreas Robertz, the Artistic Director of OneHeart Productions, the hour-long reading consisted of excerpts from the play that successfully conveyed the pathos of the entire piece. The well-cast actresses embodied convincingly these five disparate characters brought together by their families’ horrifying past with the Holocaust, and we could begin to see the seams of the future full production. If only we could hear Wagner, though!

But this isn’t a review. I want to speak a little more on the two aspects of this event that most affected me. First, in hearing as opposed to reading the play, the notion of not only coming to terms with the past and with secrets but also moving beyond them became much clearer. This was especially so in the final tableau when the characters form a small musical ensemble, akin to the one Ruth had to play in at the concentration camp. This was a solemn re-creation and reconciliation.

Second, it was naïve of me, but I had not realized earlier how much of a cathartic experience this play can be for an audience. At the talkback, moderator Beate Hein Bennett spoke about public versus private memory, and many audience members expressed the extent to which the reading moved them. One speaker praised Lichtig’s didactic-dramatic balance, and several people—audience and actresses alike—spoke about their own descent from Holocaust survivors, focusing on relationships that the second and third generations have with the survivors.

This June, Searching for a New Sun will have a workshop performance at Theater for a New City, and at some later point, the directors hope to stage it simultaneously with Luna’s Bracelet.

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