Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music

Our Class has opening night set for January 18 and the limited engagement runs through February 4.

By: Jan. 16, 2024

All new production photos have been released from Our Class, the award-winning play by Tadeusz Słobodzianek, currently running at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Fisher (Fishman Space) for its New York premiere. Check out the photos below!

Directed by Igor Golyak (The Orchard; Just Tell No One; State vs. Natasha Banina), the cast features an ensemble of artists hailing from New York, Los Angeles, Ukraine, and Russia, bridging the worlds of New York and international theater, film, and television. Our Class has opening night set for January 18 and the limited engagement runs through February 4.

The cast of Our Class features Gus Birney (The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window) as Dora, Andrey Burkovskiy  (Call DiCaprio!) as Menachem, José Espinosa (Take Me Out) as Rysiek, Tess Goldwyn (New Amsterdam) as Zocha, Will Manning (As Reaper in the Summer Gain) as Heniek, Stephen Ochsner (Chicks) as Jakub Katz, Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof) as Rachelka/Marianna, Richard Topol (Indecent; The Normal Heart) as Abram, Ilia Volok (Gemini Man, The Gaaga) as Władek, and Elan Zafir (Junk) as Zygmunt.

Our Class is based on real events, and follows 10 classmates — five Jewish and five Catholic — as they grow up as playmates, friends and neighbors, then turn on one another with life and death consequences. Inspired by real life events surrounding a horrific 1941 pogrom in the small village of Jedwabne, Poland, the play follows their lives from childhood through eight decades in a contemporary new production, directed by Jewish, Ukrainian-born director Igor Golyak.

"The cast…the whole team…this is more than just a play for us. The story hits close to home. Our incredible group of actors are bringing their full selves to the project – many are Jewish, some have Polish roots, others are from the former Soviet Union and now live here in the US and grapple with the creation of new lives here. It’s an honor to work with them,” says Igor Golyak. “We all recognize the characters and the circumstances in Our Class - it’s a play about how neighbors turn on neighbors, as we experience today in the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and it’s about antisemitism, what we are capable of, and who we can become in the face of war and aggression. We are living this every day in today’s world - it is unfortunately not a story of the past, but a cycle that keeps repeating. I can’t think of a more timely play, or a more generous or gifted group of actors with which to collaborate on this powerful, deeply human project.”

The piece comes at a time when the world is facing an increase in antisemitism across the globe and is witnessing horrific wars in Ukraine and Israel. Our Class brings the audience on a journey with ten young people — classmates — as they move from love and friendship during wartime into unthinkable acts of antisemitism, hatred and violence. It is an exploration of humanity, an effort to comprehend who we are. What would we do, and what will we do, in this situation? Who do we become in the face of past and current aggression? What are we capable of and ultimately how can we live in the face of these realities?

The creative team, like the cast, brings together artists from New York and across the world, including scenic designer Jan Pappelbaum of the Schaubheune, сostume design by Sasha Ageeva, lighting design by Adam Silverman, music by Oscar® winner Anna Drubich (Navalny), sound design by Ben Williams, projections design by Eric Dunlap, hair & makeup design by Timur Sadykov, choreography by Or Schraiber, music direction by Lisa Gutkin, and dramaturgy by Rachel Moss. Kyra Bowie is the production stage manager. Helmed by Golyak, this cross-cultural collaboration between actors, designers, producers, artists and technicians is an effort to untangle traumas of the past and wrestle with these same questions of today. Our Class is co-executive produced by MART’s Sofia Kapkova and Arlekin’s Sara Stackhouse.

“One year ago, when I decided that I wanted to produce this new production of the play Our Class in New York, I couldn't have imagined how enormously relevant this story would be today, with the world witnessing horrific antisemitic acts globally," says Sofia Kapkova. “Back then, I was thinking about the parallels between the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Our Class’s main motif of neighbors turning on each other. Yet, as we stand here today, we confront the grim reality of not one but two brutal conflicts, aiming to understand how to address the current aggression while striving to prevent the emergence of new crises in the future.”

Our Class will be accompanied by a series of in person author’s talks, special events and multimedia initiatives designed to engage communities, young people, and audiences in exploration and dialogue about the human consequences of war, antisemitism, immigrant experience, identity, empathy, and our shared humanity.

Photo Credit: Pavel Antonov

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Stephen Ochsner

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Gus Birney

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Richard Topol

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Cast

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Andrey Burkovskiy, Tess Goldwyn

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Cast

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Will Manning, Elan Zafir, Jose Espinosa, Andrey Burkovskiy

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Ilia Volok, Alexandra Silber

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Stephen Ochsner

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Tess Goldwyn, Andrey Burkovskiy

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Cast

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Gus Birney, Andrey Burkovskiy

Photos: First Look at OUR CLASS at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Cast




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