note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark
Scenic Design by Joseph Pew
Lighting Design by Tavya Pew
Costume Design by Frances McSherry
Production Stage Manager Jessica Rae Chartoff
Martin Sherman has a knack for making the Holocaust experience new and interesting again. In his classic "Bent" it was not Jews but homosexuals who felt the Nazi wrath; now in "Rose" it is not the experience of labor-camps and death-camps that is of central importance, but the life and then repressions inside the Ghetto in Warsaw before them, and then the rebuilding of a life afterwards, that fascinates. Lucille Patton must sit for the entire evening on a Shiva-bench, mourning and remembering --- and making a life stretching from a Russian Shtetl through Atlantic City and Miami to warring Israel a lively, insightful, surprising odyssey.
Patton sits, in her stocking-feet, occasionally pouring small sips of bottled water, restlessly rearranging a silk shawl and, often distractedly, reaching into a big bundle of memories. Married and widowed repeatedly, it is survival itself she personifies --- a repeated starting-over that in her late-eighties gives Rose a lot to mourn for, and a lot to celebrate as well. Her happiest memories --- escaping a small Shtetl life for the artistic fever of Warsaw and building hotel businesses in America --- contrast shockingly with pogroms and with the uneasy fact that Israel has yet to become a Promised Land of peace.
At the end of an engrossing, enlightening performance exactly who, among all her possibilities, this fascinating woman mourns is the biggest surprise of all. And Sherman, Patton, and Director Adam Zahler must be complimented in bringing this minimal miracle alive.