Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — Irena’s Vow

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. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   1 Comment

Irena’s Vow

To my surprise the play Irena’s Vow was not a one woman show, where the actress would act all the characters in the play from the twelve Jews to the Nazi major, as predicted by my professor. The play, however, opened with Ms. Feldshuh, in a narrative voice, portraying Irena Gut and nine supporting cast members acting different characters in the play. Periodically, during the play Ms. Feldshuh would act as some of the characters, usually by with foot stumping, coughing, or changing in tone. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow

Irena’s Vow

A play about something as gargantuan as the worth of thirteen lives, about their daily narrow escape from death should leave a viewer with some resounding sense of something.  One should be left with a feeling just as huge as the implications of the play.  Yet I left the theatre with nothing more then an appreciative shrug for what Irena did. [Read more →]

December 15, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow

In Conflict

In a play, there are actors on stage, pretending to be people made up by playwrights and directors, sometimes based off a real person from the past or the present, yet a character nonetheless.  In Conflict had actors pretending to be living, breathing, existing human beings with deep and sometimes dark stories to tell.  People that had served in Iraq and decided to tell all that would listen their stories of hope and betrayal and utter depression.  The actors up on the stage had no choice but to be on top of their game, because the person they were portraying could be out in the audience, or even more stressful, their spouse could be.  And all the actors were on top of their game.  There were some that were better then others, some stories that were more interesting or heartbreaking, and still each person pretending to be a different person was practically who they were pretending to be. [Read more →]

December 11, 2008   1 Comment

Irena’s Vow

Tovah Feldshuh in Irena's Vow

When I read the script to “Irena’s Vow,” I imagined it produced quite differently.  Since the directors beamed it’s a “one person show,” I imagined it to be acted by only that one character. However, it was relatively different. “Irena’s Vow” is a play by Dan Gordon, produced in the Baruch Performing Arts Center. It is about a Polish girl who hides twelve Jews during the Holocaust in the house where she works, the house of the highest ranked Nazi general, Rugemer. [Read more →]

December 6, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow

Irena’s Vow: Nervous laughs and glimpses of a dark and disturbing reality

            Irena’s Vow, presented at Baruch’s Performing Arts Center, tells the story of Irena Gut Opdyke during the German occupation of western Poland in World War II.

            After being raped, abused, tortured, and beaten by Russian troops, Irena was forced to work in a munitions factory in Poland. Overwhelmed with tough work and long hours, Irena faints and is confronted with Major Rugemer. Luckily, she is transferred and given lighter duties, and now also supervises the Jews who work in the laundry. When Major Rugemer gets re-assigned, he makes Irena his housekeeper. After overhearing that all the Jews will be sent to death camp, Irena risks her life by hiding twelve Jews in the Rugemer’s villa. With each passing day Irena and her twelve Jewish friends must combat the tension and adversity they are faced with. After all, the fates of both Irena and the Jews are in jeopardy. [Read more →]

November 9, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow: Nervous laughs and glimpses of a dark and disturbing reality

Irena’s Vow

The Holocaust, not again!

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October 28, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow



Terri Sue “Tovah” Feldshuh is the most acclaimed artist in the cast of ten performing in Dan Gordon’s Irena’s Vow. While the play succeeds in delivering a satisfying and occasionally chilling plot, the production fails to fully comprehend the true depth of its own characters and thus realize the narrative’s full potential. [Read more →]

October 18, 2008   Comments Off on A LAKE TOO DEEP FOR ITS OWN DIVERS

Irena’s Vow

We have all heard Anne Frank’s famously tragic story, and Dan Gordon’s Irena’s Vow is just another “Anne Frank” story. It is a story based on a very serious matter, the heroic efforts of Christians putting their own life at stake to save the lives of Jews. I never lose interest in reading various accounts of this sad part of our history, and the text of Irena’s Vow was indeed a wonderful chronicle of Irene Gut Opdyke’s account of her role during the holocaust. However, the performance was just sub-par.
First and foremost, Michael Parva’s casting was not very accurate. Even so much as the main role of Irena, being played by highly esteemed Tovah Feldshuh, was not acted out at its best. Although Feldshuh’s techniques of sharp breathe intakes and quivering lips definitely added to the emotions that the play was supposed to convey, it just was not strong enough. [Read more →]

October 17, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow

Irena’s Vow Review

What I thought to be a one-person play, was, in fact, not. In Dan Gordon’s new play, “Irena’s Vow”, Irena retells the true story of her hiding 12, or rather, 13, lives in the cellar of a German major’s house, as well as endangering her own. Centered around life and death, she devises a plan to help them and lives to tell the story. At first exposed to the script, I thought Irena would be playing the voices of several different characters, with photographs projected on the panel behind her, but it was a one-person play in that she retold her story through herself, with the help of the supporting cast invented from her memories. [Read more →]

October 16, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow Review