VIDEO: First Look At THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH In Arkansas
Five Time New York Times Critics' Pick Playwright Oren Safdie Returns To Arkansas Public Theatre to deliver a jaw-rattling ride through the city of Munich (c.1974) as a Holocaust survivor journeys back to his birth city in an attempt to carry out his mother's last wishes and reunite her with her deceased husband.
Rogers, AR, October 18th, 2018 - Every year Arkansas Public Theatre showcases Broadway and off-Broadway's finest playwrights and lyricists and Oren Safdie's bold World Premiere of Things To Do In Munich is no exception. Safdie's most recent play, Unseamly, was described by the New York Times as, "A thought provoking "Rashomon" about sexual harassment and the elusive, selective nature of memory," with the Wall Street Journal weighing in, "Unseamly is smart, fast, filthy and funny!" His 2004 off-Broadway hit Private Jokes, Public Places was singled out by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten new plays of the decade. APT also debuted Oren Safdie's critically acclaimed Checks & Balances in 2012. With Things To Do In Munich, Safdie's written a multi-media, poignant black comedy that jumps headfirst into the underlying debate of post-Holocaust anti-Semitism in Germany and the rest of Europe.
Things To Do In Munich is a Kafka-esque comedy, steeped with historical references and ironic twists, that follows the journey of Sheldon Hoffman, a reclusive Jewish accountant in his 40s, as he attempts to fulfill his mother's last wishes by transporting her ashes back to Munich to be reunited with his father who died in the Holocaust. Upon arrival in Germany (c.1974), Sheldon is confronted by a web of German bureaucracy, confiscation, misplacement, redirection, a manhunt and kidnapping. Whereas Jews were unable to escape the concentration camps of the Holocaust, Sheldon's dilemma is the opposite: he can't seem to get his mother's ashes into one.
Munich grew out of Safdie's own first visit to Germany back in 2000. The son of a Holocaust survivor whose Polish mother survived in hiding during the war, he grew up with the sense that Germany was off limits. "Sometimes when we would go into a restaurant and there was a couple next to us speaking German, my mother practically had an allergic reaction and we would have to change tables or leave the restaurant." On his first trip to Germany, Safdie says he felt a little like Woody Allen's character in Annie Hall when he sits down to dinner with Diane Keaton's family. "Of course there were feelings of paranoia involved, but I also couldn't help look at anyone over a certain age and wonder what they were doing during the war." This feeling was only augmented when he visited Dachau, and was shocked to see a memorial erected for the German guards who were killed by the Jewish prisoners upon liberation. "Going to Dachau felt surreal; walking from the train station - seeing how normal everything was - made me want write something that expressed this dichotomy and the irony. Seeing the rise of extremism today - both on the left and right - you start to see that all the proclamations of "Never again" don't hold much weight. Then you see how much Israel is hated by most of Western Europe, and it really makes you wonder whether the Holocaust was an anomaly or just one increment in a chain of unfinished business in a long line of pogroms and massacres."
Arkansas Public Theatre's Artistic Director and the Director of Munich, Ed McClure, is also sensitive to the material. "We want to use this delicious comedy that Oren has orchestrated as a gateway to understanding," says McClure. "Issues of growing anti-Semitism and Israel's future are of great concern to many of APT's subscribers - many who are Christians and Christian Evangelicals."
McClure draws out the humanity in each of the multiple characters in the play while exploring their respective entrenched views. He has cast Kris Isham as Sheldon Hoffman, with Tyler Volz and Anna Peterson taking on multiple characters ranging from a Lufthansa flight attendant to a Dachau security guard.
The historic Victory Theater opened in December 1927. In 2008, with generous help from the Wal-Mart Foundation, contributions from civic-minded donors and the effort of tireless volunteers, the City of Rogers purchased the Victory Theater with an agreement that it would serve as the long-term home of the Arkansas Public Theatre. For the past thirty years Arkansas Public Theatre has been an organization that believes in the performing arts as an essential part of a healthy community and economy. We began as a small theatre group putting on plays wherever our productions were welcome. Now, as our name proudly states, we are Arkansas Public Theatre at The Victory in historic downtown Rogers. Each of the 32 previous seasons shaped the organization into one that presents Broadway-caliber productions with actors, directors, designers and technicians from our vibrant region.
Arkansas Public Theatre: enhancing the Rogers Historic District and creating a regional destination.
Arkansas Public Theatre presents
THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH AT THE VICTORY THEATRE
Performances November 2-4, 8-11, 2018 Fri-Sun. at 7:00 pm.
At Victory Theatre, 116 S 2nd St, Rogers, AR 72756
Tickets: Cabaret Seats are $29/per person or $48/table (includes 2 individual seats) and Balcony Seats are $22/per person. Group discounts for 10 or more guests are available by contacting the Box Office: 479.631.8988. www.arkansaspublictheatre.org
Arkansas Public Theatre producing classic; cutting edge; and fresh from Broadway productions.