Dedication – Roger Peltzman (USA), 60 min.
Recently staged at the Marylebone Theatre and directed by Jessi D Hill, Peltzman’s one-hour solo show has storytelling, music, and history to tell the story of his family fleeing the Nazis in Europe.
Dedication is an extraordinary and exhilarating drama, a personal tale of second-generation Holocaust trauma. Peltzman’s story becones that of his uncle, gifted pianist Norbert Stern, who died in Auschwitz at the age of 21.
This show is more talk than performance, a story of one family to highlight the summary extermination of the Jews during the 1940s. The exclusion, the curfews, the hiding, the betrayals, the selection.
Peltzman’s mother esxaped the Nazis. The rest of the family did not. As Norbert Stern’s piano playing was stilled, Peltzman pays him tribute by playing here, as part of the show.
This is a social history and vibrant entertainment in one package. It is a tribute to people eliminated from the world in the name of racial perfection and eugenics. It is about fear, prejudice, and remembrance.
Pelzman has wit, warmth and wisdom in his delivery, and his musical repertoire is vast and accomplished. It isn’t much of a stretch to feel Stern’s talent coming back via his nephew.
While the use of damily photos, quotes, and letters feels more presentation than play, Dedication is a valuable show about storytelling and sensibility.
Read to Me – Dan Horrigan (UK), 16 min
“A crimedrama romance – a dyslexic criminal on his first day in prison receives a letter that could save his life. Who should read it?
“Freedom is mine, no matter my fate”.
He did the crime for love, for philanthropy, for revenge. He killed to save, but at what cost?
In Horrigan’s film short, we watch a prison therapy group as Rolan (a tense performance by Christopher Sherwood) reveals the crime that has placed him inside, unlikely to see the world again and with every day plagued by fear.
It’s an old story of ‘boy meets girl’, where gitl is unhappy and boy seeks to make things right, or as right as his mind suggests. The detail, both visual and verbal, is essential to the success of Read to Me.
Written and directed by Horrigan, with the story idea credited to Sarah Jennings, Read to Me benefits from telling a good story without being overly dramatic, with the letter being almost an irrelevance after Rolan has revealed his actions and sealed his fate.