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Fri, Jun 07

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Martin E. Segal Theater Center

Die Illegalen / The Illegals - Script Reading and Discussion

Join director David Skeist, writer Anne Nelson, and the NYC theatre company Caborca for a reading in English of Die Illegalen (The Illegals) by Günther Weisenborn. The reading will be followed by a discussion with Skeist and Nelson and a Q&A with the audience

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Die Illegalen / The Illegals - Script Reading and Discussion
Die Illegalen / The Illegals - Script Reading and Discussion

Time & Location

Jun 07, 2024, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Martin E. Segal Theater Center, 365 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA

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About the event

The Story of the Berlin Underground Anti-Nazi Group Red Orchestra

Die Illegalen / The Illegals

by Günther Weisenborn, Germany 1946

translated by Anne Nelson and directed by David Skeist / Caborca

Friday., June 7, 2024 6:30 pm

LIVE / IN PERSON - Free + Open to the Public - Segal Theatre, 365 Fifth Ave @ 34 St.

Join director David Skeist, writer Anne Nelson, and the NYC theatre company Caborca for a reading of the first English translation of Die Illegalen (The Illegals) by Günther Weisenborn. This powerful, moving work is based on the true story of ordinary Germans who stood up to the Nazi regime as a matter of conviction. The reading will be followed by a discussion with Skeist and Nelson and a Q&A with the audience. The conversation will focus on the rising threat of authoritarianism and what it means for artists and everyday citizens to stand in defense of democracy. Discussion and Q&A will be moderated by Frank Hentschker. A reception will follow.

Weisenborn, a friend and colleague of Bertolt Brecht, lived in Berlin during the Second World War and was active in a resistance circle working to undermine the Nazis. The Red Orchestra, as they came to be known, comprised ordinary men and women from all walks of life and political ideologies who made an extraordinary choice, united by their bravery and unwillingness to be complicit. In 1942 they were discovered and arrested. Some fifty of them were executed by the Nazis. Weisenborn was among those arrested but miraculously survived the war to write Die Illegalen as a tribute to lost friends. Immensely popular in the post-war years, Die Illegalen has been largely forgotten in the decades since, buried along with much German resistance history as a result of Cold War politics. While researching her celebrated book Red Orchestra, historian, playwright, and journalist Anne Nelson (The Guys) translated Die Illegalen into English. This event represents its second-ever reading. The extraordinary cast of Broadway, film, TV, and Downtown performers includes: Nicole Betancourt, Nathan Darrow, Luis Alberto González, Anne Gridley, Shayan Hooshmand, Sauda Jackson, Bob Jaffe, Matt Korahais, Amelia Mason, and JoAnna Rhinehart.

David Skeist (he/they) is an actor and multidisciplinary theatre artist based in Brooklyn. He has appeared, often repeatedly, in works by Javier Antonio González, Richard Foreman, David Gordon, Elizabeth Swados, and Doris Mirescu at venues including The Public, Skirball, Joyce Soho, and Peak Performances. David is the producing director of Caborca and acts in most of the company’s works including Zoetrope and Distant Star (both at Abrons Arts Center). He recently performed in the US premiere of Romina Paula’s Fauna (Torn Page) and the first English reading of Josep Maria Miró’s The Nicest Body Ever Seen in These Parts (Segal Center / PlayCo). They previously directed Susan Hyon’s solo performance Soo Jin Pretty Nail (and more) (Luna Stage, Baltimore Theatre Project) and were assistant to André Gregory during his work on The Master Builder with Wallace Shawn. David is also a composer currently collaborating with Caborca, M-34, and x.sud art/site. They hold an MFA from Columbia University and teach Acting at Barnard.

Anne Nelson is the author of Red Orchestra: The Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler; Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris; and Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, a ground-breaking exploration of the coalition of fundamentalists and oil barons who helped bring Trump to power. Nelson began her career on the editorial staff of The New Yorker, and subsequently covered the wars in Central America. She later become the founding staff member of Human Rights Watch / Americas Division and the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. She was the director of the International Program at the Columbia School of Journalism from 1995-2002 and has taught and conducted researched at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs since 2002. Nelson is the recipient of the Livingston Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Bellagio Fellowship. Her 2001 play The Guys, dealing with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, has been produced in fifty states and fifteen countries, and as a feature film starring Sigourney Weaver. Her 2005 play Savages was described as “a work of lacerating beauty” by The New Yorker. Nelson has been speaking across the country at screenings of Bad Faith: Christian Nationalism’s Unholy War on Democracy, a new documentary based on her book Shadow Network. She is a graduate of Yale University, where she performed in various productions at the Yale Repertory Theater.

Caborca is a bilingual theatre ensemble under the auteurship of Javier Antonio González. It is a laboratory for dramatic and performative forms that creates original and adapted works by engaging an ever-expanding range of tools such as multimedia, physical and dance theatre, nonlinearity, fluidity of character and language, and choral storytelling.

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