The Strawberry Girl, translated by Anthony Berris, presented as the Season Premiere of Season 6 | All Female Playwrights at the Goethe-Institut Boston followed by performances at over half a dozen institutions, more details below.
Director Guy Ben-Aharon
Featuring Nancy E. Carroll*, Elliot Norton Award Winner
A German woman and her son Ludwig live in Poland, where her husband works at a “factory.” Their lives change after she meets a Jewish girl who grows strawberries, as big as a man’s fist. The play deals with the confrontation of blissful ignorance and a tragic personal intimacy.
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“As a solo show, the play makes for a wonderful showcase for the smarts and talents of Nancy E. Carroll…The Strawberry Girl marks the start of Israeli Stage’s sixth outing with the work of Savyon Liebrecht, as well as the opening of its sixth season – a line-up that Guy Ben-Aharon is dedicating exclusively to female playwrights. He has opened this admirable venture auspiciously with a haunting work by one of his favorite writers…” …read more at ArtsFuse.org
“Nancy E. Carroll gives a vivid and evocative reading of this suggestive and moving play by the contemporary Israeli playwright, Savyon Liebrecht. Nuanced and expressive without being either distant or maudlin, Carroll’s performance…” …read more at BostonArtsDiary.com
“A stunning evening for audiences…” …read more at BostonTheater.wordpress.com
“Liebrecht’s The Strawberry Girl kicked off the company’s sixth season this fall, with the North American premiere of the one-woman play with award-winning actress Nancy Carroll…” …read more at TimesofIsrael.com
Continue the Dialogue | From Dialogue Moderator Abby Goldenthal
Last month, Israeli Stage brought Savyon Liebrecht’s heart-wrenching story The Strawberry Girl to life, and I spoke with actor Nancy E. Carroll and the audience after the performance. The conversation first began with us all marveling at Nancy’s haunting performance, and her grace in telling this captivating story with nothing more than her own voice and a glass of water on stage. The audience offered a variety of perspectives and memories: second generation Holocaust survivors, Jews, Americans, Germans, and others all shared their reactions to the play. In many stories related to the Holocaust, we hear about the heroes who saved people, the despair and destruction, the horrific acts committed, the indignity, the fear. The Strawberry Girl jolts us out of these usual plot lines, and invites us instead to contemplate the experiences of the wives of Nazi leaders. You are at once asked to empathize with these wives, while being tempted to berate them for standing idly by and profiting from objects stolen (and grown) in the death camps. As an audience, we wondered about the authenticity of this story; did it really happen this way? Is it possible that a woman could be so naive? Was she naive? Was she real? What inspired the writer to depict a forlorn girl offering strawberries; what is the symbolism of that fruit, and could she really exist? As Nancy concluded: “The thing that I love about pieces like this is that they spur discussion. That means there are more questions than answers, and that is always more interesting theatre.”
SAVYON LIEBRECHT Born in Munich, Germany, in 1948, to Holocaust survivor parents. Liebrecht has published seven collections of short stories and novellas and two novels. She has received awards for two of her TV scripts, the Alterman Prize (1987), the Amelia Rosselli Prize for Mail Order Women (Italy, 2002), the Maior-Amalfi Award for A Good Place for the Night (Italy, 2005) as well as Playwright of the Year for her plays It’s All Greek to Me, Apples in the Desert, Rohale’s Getting Married and The Banality of Love. Israeli Stage hosted Liebrecht in March, 2014, presenting the World Premieres of Dear Sigmund and Carl and Freud’s Women. Additionally, Israeli Stage presented The Banality of Love, Apples from the Desert and was a co-producer of A Case Named Freud.
The Strawberry Girl was performed at NewBridge on the Charles, Boston College (sponsored by the Laura and Lorenz Reibling Foundation, German Consulate of Boston), Brandeis University (Center for German and European Studies, Hadassah Brandeis Institute), Lesley University (Lesley Hillel, CJP), Goethe Zentrum Atlanta , Wellesley College (German Studies Department, Jewish Studies Department, English Department, Theatre Department) and Temple Emanuel. Dialogue Moderators included Abby Goldenthal of CJP, Consul General Ralf Horlemann of Germany, Lorenz Reibling, Shula Reinharz and Sabine von Mering.