Responsible Citizenship and Speaking Up – Berlin’s Last Starlit Night

August 14, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Two sisters, granddaughters of Holocaust survivors, team up for an exciting new theatrical/educational workshop for students in collaboration with Sydney Jewish Museum this September.

Alexis Fishman

Alexis Fishman

New York-based, Sydney-born performer Alexis Fishman (Dusty, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Songs from Below 54th St) teams up with her sister, independent theatre producer Joanna Fishman (The Blind Date Project, The Story of Mary MacLane by Herself), for a project close to both their hearts.

In 2011, with co-writer James Millar, Alexis created and starred in Club Gelbe Stern, a one- woman show that debuted at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2011 followed by seasons in Melbourne and Sydney. Set in Berlin 1933, it tells the story of a Jewish Cabaret star performing her final night on stage as Hitler takes power. Following its US debut at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2014, the show was called “a thought-provoking, intimate spectacle.”

Responsible Citizenship and Speaking Up will combine a performance of Club Gelbe Stern with a post-show workshop for senior high school students. The program will allow students to explore the relevance of the Holocaust in a contemporary context, drawing upon the play’s many themes: discrimination, exclusion, free speech, and bystander responsibility. In particular, the play’s form provides a unique opportunity for students to consider the role of bystanders in German society – people who took no active part in the atrocities but who failed to stand up as responsible citizens. Various Jewish day-schools will participate with the support of the Sydney Jewish museum. After an evaluation of the program’s success, the hope is to expand to a wider network of schools as part of the Sydney Jewish Museum’s educational offerings in 2017.

Joanna Fishman said it is a pilot Holocaust theatre/education program we are running this year.  She added: “We hope to present it as part of the Musuem’s Education program in 2017.”

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel.

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