Live theater is always fresh even when the story breaks your heart. The actors pour themselves into the feat of becoming another and convincing us that their pain, joy, dilemmas, tragedy and triumph are real.
Through the kindness of friends, Daughter of St. Paul Sr. Marie Hunt and I were able to experience “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” at the Geffen Playhouse at UCLA.
The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater within the playhouse is intimate at only 115 seats, or parlor armchairs, arranged on low graduating tiers in a half circle. Low lighting created an ambiance of elegant darkness with four gilt portrait frames hanging in front of the curtained backdrop, itself framed in gold. Once my eyes became accustomed to the low light I made out the outlines of an aged concert piano.
A youngish-looking woman appeared on the stage. She wore a simple black dress and spoke directly to us. Her name is Mona Golabek but all of a sudden she is Lisa Jura, who is 14 years old in Vienna. The year is 1938 and Lisa is going for a piano lesson, all by herself on the streetcar. Once at her teacher’s apartment he tells her that after today he can no longer teach her because it is not safe. Lisa is a Jew.
“The Pianist of Willesden Lane” opens November 23-December 16 in Boston at the Paramount Center’s Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theater “The Jackie”, 559 Washington Street, Boston 92111
Click here for tickets and information.