Jewish Sisters Sift Through Painful Past in French Drama Oy
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The last date listed for Oy was Sunday August 19, 2012 / 2:00pm.
Through Oy, playwright Hélène Cixous interrogates the question of forgiveness, the work of memories and transmission to new generations, and the state of modern racism throughout the world. Oy is the story of two German Jewish sisters, Selma and Jenny, who in 1995 in their late eighties are some of the last remaining witnesses to the period of Nazism in Europe. They have accepted an invitation from the mayor of Osnabrück, the city of their youth in Germany to testify about their experiences before the younger German generation. Upon returning to Paris from Osnabrück, the elderly sisters try to make something of the swirl of emotions, opinions and memories that have surfaced.
As they cook in the kitchen together, they talk about all the things they were not able to express in Osnabrück. Through their simple, flavorful work together, they begin to unravel the complexities of a society’s internalized racism – the broad anti-Semitism that so darkly colored their past. Based on close family members of the playwright, the interaction between these fictional sisters is honest, emotional, humorous and compelling.
Director George Bigot has a long and rich history with The Actors’ Gang. In 1984, Los Angeles was home to the Olympic Arts Festival, which brought Le Théâtre du Soleil and Mr. Bigot to Los Angeles, where they performed the Shakespeare cycle. This was a watershed event for The Gang. Several Gang members including Artistic Director, Tim Robbins, took acting workshops with Mr. Bigot, based on the style of Theatre du Soleil and the spirit of working in ensemble. Mr. Robbins has said of this moment, “Working with Georges was a seminal moment for The Actors’ Gang. He introduced a form and a discipline that respected the traditions of theatre and brought great passion to our commitment as an ensemble to produce theater that is vital and relevant.”
In 2001 The Gang reached out to its mentor and invited him to Los Angeles to run workshops to retrain the ensemble and to direct The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. Mr. Bigot returns this year with the intent of introducing the work of Hélène Cixous to U.S. audiences. His work is supported by the New York and Los Angeles French Consulates as well as the French-American Fund for Contemporary Theater and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.