Action Against Sol Schumann – Community Play Production

By Libby David

Mark your calendars. The play is being performed Sunday, October 25 at 3pm at Rodef Sholom Temple, Whealton Road, Hampton. Buy your tickets NOW at www.rodefsholomtemple.org or by sending your check for $15.00 per ticket to Rodef Sholom Temple, 318 Whealton Road, Hampton, VA 23666. (Price at the door will be $20 per ticket.)

Cast members practicing... Jeremy Forrest, Sabrina Nicholson, John Forrest, and Jeanette Weinberg
Cast members practicing… Jeremy Forrest, Sabrina Nicholson, John Forrest, and Jeanette Weinberg

The production of “The Action Against Sol Schumann by Jeffrey Sweet brings something very new and exciting to our community. On October 25th at 3:00 the Rodef Sholom Players will bring us together as a community to meet a Jewish family and to explore the issues they must confront – issues involving family, good and evil, right and wrong.

The force behind this project is Elina Blaha, a member of Rodef Sholom Temple. Elina explains that this idea grew out of her participation in Rodef Sholom’s SULAM Emerging Leaders program. When asked how she would put her leadership training to work, she realized that there is no Jewish performing arts program on the Peninsula, and expressed an interest in creating such a program. Rabbi Dror encouraged her to take on this project. Elina’s commitment is to stage productions with Jewish themes and concerns using our own local talent.

The cast and production crew of this play include members of three local temples as well as their family and friends. Rodef Sholom participants include:  Karen Forrest (stage manager), her husband Johnny and his son Jeremy; Jeanette and Brian Weinberg; Shelly Portnoy; Elina and Brent Blaha and her friend Lina Kilmer. Steve Meyerson and Roy Lasris will be doing lights and sound. From Temple Beth El in Williamsburg are Paulette Gansberger and Del Meyers, and from Congregation Emet v’Or are Gregory and Sabrina Nicholson.

It is Elina’s hope that this will be the first of many productions featuring the Rodef Sholom Players. This project offers everyone in our community opportunities to take part in productions – to become characters whose stories will make us examine our perspectives and values as Jews. And all of us who are not yet ready to step into the spotlight will have the opportunity to see our friends in productions that deepen our insights about ourselves and about relevant Jewish issues.

Mark your calendars. Buy your tickets NOW at www.rodefsholomtemple.org or by sending your check for $15.00 per ticket to Rodef Sholom Temple, 318 Whealton Road, Hampton, VA 23666. (Price at the door will be $20 per ticket.)


About The Action Against Sol Schumann
By John Forrest

Sol served as a Jewish kapo in a Nazi labor camp 40 years earlier and failed to disclose this when applying for citizenship. Now his son’s must deal with the government’s attempts to revoke their father’s citizenship.  Play write Jeffrey Sweet’s examines the difficulties of family perception and relationship, as his adult sons realize that their father’s story is more complex than they thought.  Is Sol, the devout pillar of his Brooklyn Jewish community and loving father his boys know, also the “ogre of Ordenhaupt” labor camp who brutalized his fellow Jews? By the play’s final scene the government’s action against Sol becomes almost an afterthought as Sol suffers what seems to be divine retribution for the suffering he inflicted upon others. The action against Sol is also the action against his sons who are forced to suffer along with their father and question their identity as the children of survivors.  At one point in the play Aaron asks, ”… how are people supposed to know who they are if they don’t know what’s happened before?” Is not knowing perhaps better circumstance.

Sweet uses historical events to help make his point. The backdrop of President Reagan’s 1985 visit to the Bitburg, Germany cemetery, which contains graves of Hitler’s SS examines the effect the past has on the present. Is any event in the past ever put behind us? Is it possible to ever move on from what we were? Are there answers to these questions?
A minimalist set allows the twenty five scenes to move quickly from one to the next utilizing different areas of the stage much as Shakespeare did creating a presentation that is as stark as the subject matter.
The play is being performed Sunday, October 25 at 3pm at Rodef Sholom Temple, Whealton Road, Hampton. Tickets are $15 advanced and $20 at the door.