Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama

By Marc Maufort | Go to book overview
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more painfully evident. As the fantasy fades, Mordechai and Rose return to the apartment and find Lusia and Duvid together. The four who are the remnant move into a familial embrace.Shaping a drama about the Holocaust, and offering a degree of consolation, as the conclusion of the play does, inevitably involves considerable risk. Yet the need for works about the Shoah is profound. The novelist, Aharon Applefeld, says in his recently published volume, Beyond Despair, that it is through art that we can "bring this dreadful experience into the circle of life" (xiv). In her review of Applefeld's book, Eva Hoffman articulates the essential dilemma surrounding Holocaust literature:

In our efforts to think about the Holocaust with proper humility and respect, we have taken it as a kind of credo that it is, and should remain, an ungraspable mystery, unsayable and unimaginable. There are good reasons, of course, for avoiding facile reactions to the Holocaust; but Mr. Appelfeld reminds us that if we truly want to understand, we must dare to touch even this terrible event with the available instruments of language and imagination, to think about it in recognizable categories of human experience. (5)

Lebow is attentive to these paradoxical needs. She engages us in a family story that offers some balm, while she keeps the "unthinkable" continually within our awareness. Through the effectiveness of the bifurcated dramatic form she employs, Lebow makes a significant contribution to what Norma Rosen calls "the deepest kind of ongoing Holocaust memorial that we can have" (15).
Works Cited
Appelfeld Aharon. Introduction. Beyond Despair: Three Lectures and a Conversation with Philip Roth. New York: Fromm Int. Publ. Co., 1994. ix-xv.
Gussow Mel. "The Stage: 'Maidel' in Hartford." New York Times 29 November 1985: C3.
Hoffman Eva. "Let Memory Speak." The New York Times Book Review 23 January 1994: 5.
Kramer Mimi. New Yorker 30 November 1987: 121-22.
Langer Lawrence L. Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. New Haven: Yale UP, 1991.
Lebow Barbara. A Shayna Maidel. New York: NAL, 1985.
Levi Primo. Moments of Reprieve. New York: Penguin, 1987.
Miss Rose White. Writ. Barbara Lebow. Hallmark Hall of Fame. NBC. 26 April, 1992.

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