By Anthony Harris
This month’s installment of the Majestic Reader’s Theatre features two reading performances of the drama A Shayna Maidel (Yiddish for “pretty girl”) on Sunday, July 27. The off-Broadway hit, written by Barbara Lebow, tells the story of two sisters estranged since childhood who reconnect 20 years later at the end of the Holocaust.
The two sisters, Luisa and Rose Weiss, are separated when their father Mordechai attempts to emigrate his family to America from Poland. Unfortunately, Luisa is stricken with scarlet fever, and she and her mother are forced to remain behind while the father and his youngest daughter Rose make the journey to a Depression-ravaged America. Mordechai struggles to find work under the circumstances, so he’s unable to bring Luisa and her mother over with them and contact becomes severed. Rose grows up during the Depression and Luisa during the Holocaust.
The play begins a year after the conclusion of World War II, when Luisa is brought to America by an aid organization. Mordechai blames himself for the death of his wife, and assumes his daughter is dead as well after a life spent in concentration camps. Meanwhile, over the last 20 years Rose has become very Americanized, making reconciliation difficult for the family at first.
Performances of A Shayna Maidel are on Sunday, July 27 with a matinee at 3 p.m. and an evening show at 7 p.m. Reader’s Theatre is performed in the community room on the second floor of the Majestic Theatre, 115 SW 2nd Street. General admission is $8, or $6 for seniors and students. Tickets are available online at www.majestic.org or by calling the box office at 541-758-7827.