Members of Livermore Shakespeare Festival (LSF) will reopen the doors to their downtown studio later this month for a staged reading of Diane Samuel's "Kindertransport," a play about the Jewish children who were transported to safety in the United Kingdom prior to the outbreak of World War II.
The reading, at 7 p.m. July 22, will be directed by Bay Area director/actor/playwright Jennifer Le Blanc; cultural advisor is Larry Lagin, president of East Bay Holocaust Education Center.
"Kindertransport" follows the story of fictional Eva Schlessinger, who is transported away from her parents in Germany to live with a foster family in England, with events based on real life stories of Kindertransport children. The play was first performed by the Soho Theatre Company at the Cockpit Theatre in London in April 1993 and at New York City's Manhattan Theatre Club in 1994.
Before the Livermore performance, a short presentation will be given by Lisa Mason Waldroup, a retired Contra Costa librarian who is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her mother Doris Mason, born Doris Franzelore Goldschmidt in Germany in 1930, was one of the 10,000 children who were on the Kindertransport in 1939. Waldroup is co-chairwoman of the Northern California Kindertransport Association.
The staged reading marks the first collaboration between Livermore Shakespeare Festival and the newly formed East Bay Holocaust Education Center, which was created to educate people of all faiths about the Holocaust and to honor its victims. Its mission is to promote a spirit of universal tolerance and peace, using the lessons of the Holocaust to serve as a reminder that genocide can happen at any time, at any place.
The play was chosen by a group of residents led by Livermore Shakespeare Festival's resident director Michael Wayne Rice and Larry Lagin. The group read five Holocaust-based scripts together this past winter, several of which they hope to produce in partnership in the future.
"We also will be sponsoring a local Zoom reading group this summer to read Meg Waite Clayton's Kindertransport book, 'The Last Train to London,'" Lagin said.
The staged reading of "Kindertransport" will take place at the Shakespeare's Associates Inc. downtown studio space at 2172 Railroad Ave. Due to COVID safety regulations, space is limited and only 50 tickets will be sold to the live event; those at the live presentation must be fully vaccinated.
The presentation and performance will also be livestreamed and virtual tickets will be available. The recorded performance and presentation will be available to purchase and view until July 29.
Tickets for the live event are $25; tickets for the virtual livestream are $15; and a link to view the pre-recorded program from July 25-29 will be available for purchase for $10 through July 27.
For tickets and more information, visit Livermore Shakes.org/life-sparc or call 443-BARD (443-2273). "Kindertransport" is the final installation in Livermore Shakespeare Festival's LifeSPARC series that began in April.