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Lebensraum
Studio Theatre

Remaining shows:
Sunday, July 20 @ Noon; Wednesday, July 23 @ 7 PM; Sunday, July 27 @ 4 PM

They say: “Using a cast of three to play 40 characters, this work is based on the explosive idea that a German Chancellor might, as an act of redemption, invite 6 million Jews to Germany. The logical progression of this artfully drawn script raises the terrifying possibility that history may repeat.”

Marianka’s take: If theater’s genius is to transport you to a different but still plausible world, this play fits the bill. Written by multi-awarded playwright (and screenwriter of the movie “Sunshine”) Israel Horovitz, Lebensraum projects real history into the fictional present and brings “terrifying possibility” into the intimate lives of forty characters with poignancy.

The very young 3 person cast—Sarah Shook, David Olson, Chase Helton—is absolutely dynamite. With minimal but iconic costumes and props, director Cory Ryan Frank deftly maneuvers them through fluid role changes into Germans and Jews of various persuasions, unreconstructed Nazis and clueless adolescents, assimilated Americans and Israeli revolutionaries, plus many more. In a Brechtian turn, each actor also rotates through as narrator during seamless character transitions without ever skipping a beat. The delineation between characters is clear in their lovely, nuanced interpretations—truly a tour de force.

One small quibble: the team should get help on their German and French pronunciation.

Even at 90 minutes, the play moves with lightning speed, but the afterglow hasn’t faded yet.

See it if: You want to be engaged emotionally and intellectually long after it’s over, to experience virtuosic performances (that includes the sound, light, and technical elements), and to be able to say, “I saw them when…”

Skip it if: The above leaves you cold.