By Mary Mallory
Revealing and powerful, Stephanie Satie’s one-woman show Silent Witnesses dramatically documents the harrowing, unknown stories of children survivors of the Holocaust and presents their triumphant survival.
Silent Witnesses emotionally reveals the healing process of older Jewish women finding their voices and speaking their truth as they recount haunting stories of surviving the Holocaust years in group sessions with a therapist. In doing so, they carry the stories on to new generations.
Playwright Satie blends telling, dramatic moments with humorous asides and social interactions to realistically portray damaged women slowly breaking their walls of isolation. She artfully combines fact, recreation, imagination, and history to create a compelling, thought-provoking story.
Satie does an excellent job differentiating between her characters through voice, body language, expression, and change of clothing, portraying protective, analytical Amelie; expressive, outgoing Paula; uptight, thoughtful Hannah; and warm, steadying therapist Dana.
Director Anita Khanzadian builds excellent pacing into the story, from intimate moments of revelation to visceral experiences with soldiers, camps, and community. Her staging shapes intimate conversation and recreated history into powerful eyewitness testimony.
Production work is also spot-on, from Carol Doehring’s fine lighting to dramatic sound cues to the intimate, mirrored office set.
Satie’s Silent Witnesses gives haunting and telling voice to those who were young Jewish children and survived the awful years of the Holocaust, revealing these women’s remarkable strength and courage in the process.
Silent Witnesses plays Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m. through Oct. 27 at the Whitefire Theatre located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. Tickets cost $20, $17 for seniors over 62 and for students with ID, and group rates are available. Call 1-800-838-3006, or visit silentwitnesses.brownpapertickets.com to purchase tickets. For more information, call (818) 922-2444, or visit refugeestheplay.com.