(WHITEWATER, WIS.)— UW- Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department begins the 19-20 Season with Resort 76 by Shimon Wincelberg based on A Cat in the Ghetto by Rachmil Bryks. The play takes us to a forced labor textile mill in the Lodz Ghetto in Poland during World War II. The play focuses on a motley and compelling crew of characters who both live and work in this industrial “resort” and struggle to survive and find hope in the face of darkness. Resort 76 runs from October 7-12 at 7:30 pm and October 13 & 14 at 2:00 pm in the Hicklin Studio Theatre in the Greenhill Center of the Arts, 950 West Main Street, Whitewater, WI 53190. Tickets are available by calling 262-472-2222 or online at tickets.uwwe.edu
Bruce Cohen is directing Resort 76 in the style of immersive theatre. Immersive theatre removes the stage and places the audience within the production itself allowing the actors to break the fourth wall. This type of performance eliminates the boundaries between the real world and the world created in the play to stimulate all five senses, allowing for a more emotional experience for the actors and audience. It removes the audience from their comfort zones, causing their reactions to the events in the play to be more instinctual and creating a more real experience. To do that in a play about the Holocaust will create an empathy and visceral experience for all attending. Bruce Cohen has this to say about the play, “The story that Resort 76 tells is uncomfortable and compelling. The people it portrays are, at once, disturbing and laudable. Most importantly, this human story is deeply dimensional and does not seek to spare any polite sensibilities. It is certainly a justifiably difficult evening.”
In addition to the performances there are a number of outreach activities associated with Resort 76.
It’s important to note that the dates of the play coincide with Rosh HaShana (the Jewish New Year festival) which starts on September 30 and ends on October 1 and October 9 is Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement and the most important holiday in the Jewish faith.
- Speakers forum: October 8 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm in the Greenhill Center of the Arts, Room 30
Guest speakers Dr. Stanislav Vysotsky (UW-Whitewater professor of Sociology and Criminology), Jennifer Gramer (UW-M professor of History), and Dr. Daniel Haumschild (The Milwaukee Jewish Federation- HERC) will join us to discuss themes brought to light through the production of Resort 76 by Shimon Wincelberg. Topics discussed include genocide, memory, and incarceration in how they relate to the play, as well as, in society today.
- My Father Rachmil Bryks: October 10 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm in Barnett Theatre in the Greenhill Center of the Arts. A lecture and talk with Bella Bryks-Klein, the daughter of Rachmil Bryks, author of A Cat in the Ghetto (the novel that Resort 76 is adapted from). Mrs. Bryks-Klein will give insight into her father’s life through his writing and biography. Rachmil Bryks wrote other novels “The ‘King’ of the Ghetto”, “ The Paper Crown”, and “Ghetto Resort 76”, upon which the play Resort 76 is based. Mrs. Bryks-Klein will discuss how this traumatic experience in the Lodz Ghetto affected him to the very last day of his life, and is affecting her as a second generation child of a Holocaust survivor.
- Apocalypse Now: German Works on Paper, 1920’s-1950’s
Highlighting works from the Fishman Collection at the Crossman Gallery of Art, Apocalypse Now explores mounting tensions in Weimar Germany leading up to WWII, and the utter devastation felt after the war. The exhibit includes prints and drawings made by prominent artists of the German avant-garde, including artists included: George Grosz, Christoph Voll, Fritz Skade, Wilhelm Höpfner, and Rudolf Schlichter.
- Dates of the exhibit: September 24 – October 24.
- A Cat in the Ghetto Library discussions:
- Irvin L. Young Memorial Library: October 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm
- Dwight Foster Library: October 10 and 14 at 1:00 pm
- Jefferson Public Library: September 23 at 6:00 pm
Please take part in any of the free ancillary activities and join us for the immersive theatre production of Resort 76, October 7-12 at 7:30 pm and, October 13 -14 at 2:00 pm in the Hicklin Studio Theatre in the Greenhill Center of the Arts, 950 West Main Street, Whitewater, WI 53190. Tickets are available by calling 226-472-2222 or online at http://tickets.uww.edu or in the Greenhill Center of the Arts box office, hours are M-F 8:30 pm – 4:00 pm.