Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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At Our Very Own Basement –

The hammer missed the nail a bit on this one. Irena’s Vow does showcase a solid performance, but the portrayal of the characters as featured in the original play script is far from perfect. If you are the type of person who reads the book before watching the production, you might find yourself staring at an unfamiliar Irena, or maybe a new variant of the Major.

This play focuses on Irena, a woman who lives through World War II in German occupied Poland. The story is very intricate – there are plenty of subtleties that keep the mind awake and interested. Irena must risk her own life to save that of twelve others; she hides twelve Jews in the house of one of Germany’s most important army officials. While the script presented the reader with bits of dark realistic humor, the transition to stage turned that foreboding “comedy” into something more light and negligible. I must have chuckled quite a bit throughout the course of the play – something I really wouldn’t want to do when it comes to the Holocaust. Reading the manuscript gave me goosebumps, and not the good kind. The change in atmosphere this “Irena blooper” presents strays too far from the feelings invoked while reading the original manuscipt.

Putting the intentions of the author aside, what we get from four time Tony Award nominee Tovah Feldsuh is a heartfelt performance that keeps the heart aching for more. The story of Irena Opdyke is truly brought to life on stage. Alongside a decent supporting cast, Irena’s Vow delivers the story, but falls short in portraying the characters.

1 comment

1 rabbi ed { 06.03.09 at 11:16 pm }

how can I find a copy of the script to read in prep for High holy day sermons. A trip to NYC is out of the questiuon now. Please help me! Ed