Strathairn makes his TFANA debut portraying the Polish resistance fighter and World War II hero and Holocaust witness Jan Karski.

By: Sep. 27, 2022
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Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski

Theatre for a New Audience has announced the one-week extension of Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, by Clark Young and Derek Goldman, directed by Goldman, and starring David Strathairn (Nightmare Alley; Nomadland; Good Night, and Good Luck). Due to popular demand and critical acclaim, performances, which began September 10 and were initially scheduled to close October 9, will now run through October 16 at Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn.

In a celebrated solo performance, Strathairn makes his TFANA debut portraying the Polish resistance fighter and World War II hero and Holocaust witness Jan Karski, who risked his life to carry his report of the Warsaw ghetto from war-torn Poland to the Allied Nations and the Oval Office, only to be disbelieved. Alone onstage with little more than a table and two chairs, Strathairn captures the remarkable life of this self-described "insignificant little man" and his story of moral courage and individual responsibility.

"Starring a masterly David Strathairn," the "dignified and affecting solo show...brings Karski's recollections to anguished life," writes Alexis Soloski in a New York Times Critic's Pick review, who also praised Roc Lee's sound design and original composition, "which gives the show a cinematic feel," and Zach Blane's "evocative lighting." Jackson McHenry, in New York Magazine, writes, "Lit up amid spools of fog, Strathairn's eyes are soft and active and overwhelmed all at once... It's a stage performance in close-up." In The Wall Street Journal, Charles Isherwood says, "Mr. Strathairn, under the restrained direction of Mr. Goldman, keeps us locked into the memory of the central character. We are reliving, with him, the moment-by-moment crucible of his experience." TheaterMania declares, "The clear directive placed right in the title of Remember This might be exactly what the world needs."

TFANA Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz says, "Theatre for a New Audience is a modern classical theatre whose cornerstone is Shakespeare. What is this play doing in a season at TFANA? The answer lies in the question 'what is a classic?' To me, it's a story that is never over. It keeps getting retold because the issues that the classic plays are addressing are never over. Every generation has to deal with them. The issues of justice and bearing witness are in Shakespeare and reverberate through classic drama. Remember This is a classic story; just as you can timelessly look at different plays of Shakespeare and say, 'this character is making us see the truth'-the same goes for Karski."

Remember This took form after Goldman, founder of The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, was invited to develop a theatrical project surrounding Karski's centennial celebration at Georgetown, where Karski taught for 40 years. As Goldman began collaborating on the project with former student and co-writer Clark Young, they immersed themselves into Karski's life-spending time with his former students and colleagues and crafting a script almost entirely from his own words. The director took an elemental approach to staging the work, capturing the transformative powers of both the classroom and the theatre and revealing all that can happen in a simple room.

Strathairn came to the project with a deep commitment to finding Karski's soul through a meticulous study of oral history and video footage. With a virtuosity that collaborators have referred to as "not just technical but spiritual," he delivers a portrayal of an individual who survived to deliver a message as millions of his compatriots were murdered. As Peter Marks wrote, "Strathairn has been waging a campaign to illuminate Karski's courageous acts. The production has become a mission for him."

Surrounding a messenger whose harrowing accounts are conveniently met with denial, Remember This has chilling resonances in our contemporary world as so many urgent messages-about the pandemic, climate change, the rise of authoritarianism in American and global politics, human rights violations-have gone ignored. The play juxtaposes a fully embodied portrait of an individual, and an individual's responsibility, against an exploration of how dehumanization can lead people to justify the unthinkable.

Says Goldman, "Karski reclaims the notion of being haunted by the horrors he's seen and experienced as necessary, essential. He devoted his life to teaching young people, and sought to enlighten the world about what he witnessed and attempted to expose. In the face of so much atrocity, audiences come away from Remember This with a sense of hope and uplift, because coming together to bear witness to truth is a vital action. By the end of the performance, they too are students of Karski."

About Jan Karski

Jan Karski was a courier for the Polish Underground resistance during World War II. In 1942, Karski volunteered to walk through the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi extermination camp before traveling to London to report to the Allied Nations on the conditions of occupied Poland and, specifically, the Holocaust. He personally delivered his eyewitness account-- and urgent appeal for intervention on behalf of the Jewish people-- to British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, and later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Oval Office. His report was ignored. After the war, Karski earned his Ph.D. at Georgetown University, where he was a beloved Professor in the School of Foreign Service for 40 years. Considering himself largely a failure and "an insignificant little man," Karski didn't share his story for decades until filmmaker Claude Lanzmann persuaded him to speak of his experiences for the first time in the celebrated documentary Shoah. Karski was made an honorary citizen of Israel and was awarded the distinction 'Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem. Karski died in Washington, DC, in July 2000. In 2012, he was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

About Derek Goldman (Director, Co-Author)

Derek Goldman is Chair of Georgetown University's Department of Performing Arts and Director of the Theater & Performance Studies Program, as well as Artistic & Executive Director and co-founder of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics. He is an award-winning stage director, playwright/adapter, scholar, producer, and developer of new work, whose work has been seen around the country, off-Broadway, and internationally. His work has been seen at theaters such as Steppenwolf, Lincoln Center, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger, Round House, Chicago Shakespeare, The Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth, Everyman, Mosaic, Theater J, Synetic, Ford's, McCarter, Segal Center (Montreal), Olney, and others. He is the author of more than 30 professionally produced plays and adaptations, including work published by Samuel French, and he has directed over 100 productions. His engagement with global performance in recent years has taken his work to Sudan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China, Poland, South Africa, Australia, Peru, Bulgaria, Armenia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, and throughout the UK, among other places. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group (TCG); Vice-President of UNESCO's International Theatre Institute, and Founding Director of the Global Network of Higher Education in the Performing Arts. He holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and he received the President's Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers at Georgetown and the Provost's Award for Innovation in Teaching for his work creating In Your Shoes, a groundbreaking model for using performance to counter polarization and engage challenging conversations across difference through deep and respectful listening.

About Clark Young (Co-Author)

Clark Young. New York: Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski (as My Report to the World) at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. International: Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski at Queen Mary University, London; with Teatr IMKA in Warsaw, Poland. STC: The Taming of the Shrew (free-for-all), The Servant of Two Masters. Regional: Ford's Theatre: Fly, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Woolly Mammoth: Full Circle; Studio Theatre: Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Songs of the Dragon Flying to Heaven; Company One: Astro Boy and the God of Comics; Synetic Theater: Kafka's Metamorphosis, Lysistrata; National Symphony Orchestra: georgeWASHINGTON. Film: Remember This. Teaching: Georgetown University (Acting, Directing), Bronx Lighthouse College Prep Academy. Education: Georgetown University: BA in English, Theater and Performance Studies, NYU Tisch: MA in Performance Studies. Publications: Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, GU Press, 2021 | Personal: he/him/his | Upcoming: .406 Below, a new play about Ted Williams and the quest for immortality.

About David Strathairn (Actor)

David Strathairn's theatre credits include: American Conservatory Theater: Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad, Underneath the Lintel by Glenn Berger | Theater of War productions. FILM: Guillermo Del Toro's Nightmare Alley; Chloe Zhao's Nomadland (Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival; Oscar and Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture); George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck (Academy Award nomination for Best Actor); Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln; John Sayles' Matewan, Eight Men Out, and City of Hope; Doug Magee's Beyond the Call.

About the Creative Team

Misha Kachman (Scenic Design). New York: Off-Broadway: The Originalist. The Kennedy Center: Dr. Wonderful, Unleashed!, Bud, Not Buddy, Jason Invisible, Barrio Grrrl! Regional: Arena Stage: Intelligence, Kleptocracy, Smart People, Junk. Baltimore Center Stage: Stones in His Pockets. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park: Venus in Fur, Sex With Strangers, Cincinnati King, Mr. Joy, Americus. Cleveland Playhouse: Ken Ludwig's Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood. Court Theatre/Pasadena Playhouse: The Originalist. Everyman Theatre: Aubergine. Milwaukee Shakespeare: Cymbeline. Olney Theatre Center: The Amateurs, Colossal, Our Town, The Diary of Anne Frank. Portland Center Stage: Oregon Trail. Round House Theatre: The Lyons, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Young Robinhood, Oslo. Seattle Rep: Two Trains Running. Signature Theatre: Threepenny Opera, Cabaret, Really Really, Xanadu, Midwestern Gothic, Girlfriend, The Fix. Skylight Music Theatre: In the Heights. Studio Theatre: TempOdyssey. Syracuse Stage: Stupid F*cking Bird, Amadeus. Theater J: Race, The Odd Couple, Lost in Yonkers, Our Class, The New Jerusalem, Love Sick. The Wilma Theater: The Body of An American, The Convert, Mr. Burns. Woolly Mammoth: Fever/Dream, A Bright New Boise, Stupid F*cking Bird, Zombie: The American, Marie Antoinette, Kiss, Hir, An Octoroon, Fairview, Describe the Night, The Convert. Opera: Filarmónica de Jalisco: Turandot. Opera Lafayette/Opera Royal Versailles: Les femmes vengées, Cosi fan tutte. Other: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, The Red Torch Theatre, The Kommissarzhevskaya Theatre (Russia) | Awards: Helen Hayes Award (2013), Gypsy Rose Lee Award (2018) | Professional Affiliations: Professor, Head of MFA in Design, University of Maryland; Company Member, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Associate Artist, Olney Theatre Center. Training: St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy, Russia.

Zach Blane (Lighting Design). International: Shrek (Sofia National Opera House, Bulgaria). National Tour: May We All (written by Florida Georgia Line, upcoming); Crane: On Earth, In Sky (Heather Henson). Television: Wicked in Concert (PBS, dir. Baayork Lee). New York: Titus Burgess Take Me to the World (Carnegie Hall); Into the Woods, In Concert (Town Hall); Too Much, Too Much, Too Many; Suicide Incorporated (Roundabout Theatre Company); The Siblings Play (Rattlestick Theater); Would You Still Love Me If (New World Stages, dir. Kathleen Turner); Charles Busch's Cleopatra (TFANC); Wringer (City Center); Suitcase Under the Bed (Mint Theatre Company); MUST; Bulldozer (St. Clements); Indian Joe (Davenport); Crusade of Connor Stephens (Jerry Orbach); The Eternal Space (Theatre Row); Soul Doctor (Actors Temple); The Good Girl (59E59); The Gentleman Caller; The Dork Knight (Abingdon); Sommerfugl; Holiday House (4th Street, NYTW). Regional: Djembe (Apollo Theatre), Pasadena Playhouse, Two River Theater, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Barrington Stage Company, Bucks County Playhouse, Dorset Theatre Festival, Cape Playhouse.

Roc Lee (Composition and Sound Design) is a Helen Hayes Award winning DC based Composer/Sound Designer. He holds a Master of Music in Stage Music Composition from CUA. Roc creates music and sound design for video games, theater, film and podcasts. Credits include: Voices of Now: Inside Voices, Snowchild, The Price, The Year of Magical Thinking, Mother Courage at Arena Stage; Crossing Mnisose at Portland Centerstage; Small Mouth Sounds, Doll House 2 at Roundhouse; Kid Prince and Pablo, The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 at Kennedy Center TYA; Fairview, Describe the Night at Woolly Mammoth Theatre; Admissions, Curve of Departure at Studio Theatre; Distance Frequencies, [410]Gone at Rorschach Theatre; The Lathe of Heaven at Spooky Action Theater; CHARM, Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies, Ulysses On Bottles, Oh God! at Mosaic Theater; Aubergine, The Importance of Being Earnest at Everyman Theatre; Singin' In The Rain, Matilda The Musical!, Tiger Style!, The Invisible Hand, On The Town, Aubergine, Annie, Thurgood, Fickle Fancy Farce, Dial M for Murder at Olney Theater Center; AIDA at Constellation Theatre; In This Hope: A Pericles Project; Hello My Name Is... at Welders; FAME!, In the Heights at GALA Hispanic Theater.

Ivania Stack (Costume Design). Arena Stage: Intelligence, The Heiress, The Price, Right to Be Forgotten. Seattle Repertory Theatre: Two Trains Running. Ford's Theatre: Jefferson's Garden, Silent Sky. The Kennedy Center: Oliverio, A Wind in the Door. McCarter Theatre: Sleuth. Baltimore Center Stage: Stones in His Pockets, How to Catch Creation. Olney Theatre Center: Mary Stuart, South Pacific, Miss You Like Hell, Invisible Hand. Round House Theatre: A Boy and His Soul, Oslo, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play. Everyman Theatre: Pipeline, Queens Girl, Aubergine. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety, Bright New Boise, Botticelli in the Fire, Describe the Night, The Arsonists, Fairview. Personal: she/her/hers. Upcoming: Minor Character at The Wilma Theatre, Mountaintop at Ford's Theatre. Training:: University of Maryland: MFA in Design.

Emma Jaster (Movement Direction). New York: Heartbeat Opera (Associate Artist): Fidelio, La Susanna, Butterfly, Dido & Aeneas. Juilliard: Agrippina. Constellation Chor/Marisa Michaelson: Desire/Divinity Project, Sappho Fragments. Regional: Theater J: Our Class. Round House Theatre: I'll Get You Back Again (Associate), Young Robin Hood. Center Stage: Stones in His Pockets. Opera Lafayette: Radamisto. Film: Breathing Free. Other: International exchange: Theater Zar Poland, DaLiangShan International Theater Festival China, UTheater Taiwan. Artist residencies: NYC: HERE Arts, BAX, Fresh Ground Pepper. San Francisco: ODC, Studio210. Artist Fellowships: DCCAH, Asian Cultural Council, Amherst College. Teaching: IDEO, MoMA, Cornell Tech, University of Louisville, Georgetown University. Training: Kuttiyattam Sanskrit Theater-India, LaMama Director's Syposium-Italy, Lecoq School for Physical Theater-France. Performance from age 6 with mime father, Mark Jaster (Happenstance Theater). Emma is a core member of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University and has been part of the Karski artistic team since 2015.

Performance Schedule

Remaining performances of Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski take place September 29 and 30, and October 1, 2, 5-8, and 12-15 at 7:30pm; and October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 2pm at Polonsky Shakespeare Center (262 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn).

Ticketing Information

Season subscriptions-with benefits including priority booking, flexible exchange policy, discounted guest tickets, discounts at Food & Drink and the Book Kiosk in the Polonsky Shakespeare Center lobby, and more-are available online at; by phone at 212.229.2819 x10; and in person at the box office.

2022-2023 subscription packages:

  • Three Play Package ($174): One ticket to three productions of your choosing at just $58 per ticket.

- Three Play A: Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, Des Moines, and Fuente Ovejuna

- Three Play B: Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, Des Moines, and Orpheus Descending

- Three Play C: Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, Fuente Ovejuna, and Orpheus Descending

- Three Play D: Des Moines, Fuente Ovejuna, and Orpheus Descending.

Flex Pass Package ($240): a four-ticket package for just $60 per ticket. Use them in any combination for any of the shows in the 2022-2023 season.

Subscriber add-ons include Guest Tickets for $60 and New Deal Tickets for $20. Subscriber New Deal tickets-for those aged 30 and under, and for full-time students of any age-are available for all performances for $20 and can be purchased in advance or day-of online, by phone, or at the box office with valid ID(s) required at pickup.

All sales are final. No refunds. All packages are subject to a $10 handling fee.

2022-23 Single Tickets

Single ticket types include Full Price Ticket: $90-$100 and Premium: $125. New Deal tickets-for those aged 30 and under, and for full-time students of any age-are available for all performances for $20, can be purchased in advance or day-of online, by phone, or at the box office with valid ID(s) required at pickup.

New Deal ticket subsidies are supported by the Audrey H. Meyer New Deal Fund.

All productions, artists and dates are subject to change.

About The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics

Founded in 2012 as a joint initiative of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and Department of Performing Arts, The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics humanizes global politics through performance. With highly visible original productions, partnerships, and initiatives, The Lab cultivates a distinctive global community of collaborators that includes students, emerging and established artists, educators, policy leaders, and activists. Our work harnesses narrative, memory, and acts of witnessing with the aim of sparking transformation and change.

About Theatre for a New Audience

Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is home for Shakespeare and other contemporary playwrights. It nurtures artists, culture, and community. Recognizing that each audience is new and different from the last one, TFANA is dedicated to forging an exchange between artist and playgoer that is immediate and direct, and to the ongoing search for a living, human theatre.

With Shakespeare as its supreme guide, TFANA explores the ever-changing forms of world theatre and builds a dialogue spanning centuries between the language and ideas of Shakespeare and diverse authors, past and present. TFANA is committed to building long-term associations with artists from around the world and supporting the development of plays, translations, and productions through residences, workshops and commissions. TFANA performs for an audience of all ages and backgrounds; is devoted to economic access; and promotes a vibrant exchange of ideas through its humanities and education programs.

TFANA's productions have played nationally, internationally and on Broadway. In 2001, it became the first American theatre company invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

TFANA created and runs the largest in-depth program to introduce Shakespeare and classic drama in New York City's Public Schools. Since its inception in 1984, the program has served more than 140,000 students.

In 2013, TFANA opened its first permanent home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center (PSC), in the Brooklyn Cultural District. The heart of PSC is its performance space: the 299-seat Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage, a uniquely flexible space with extraordinary acoustics, capable of multiple configurations between stage and audience; as well as the 50-seat Theodore C. Rogers Studio.

In addition to productions, TFANA supports ongoing artistic development through the Merle Debuskey Studio Program, which provides artists with residencies and workshops to create and explore outside the pressures of full production.

Photo credit: Hollis King

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