For his final play at Creighton University, theater professor Alan Klem is telling a story you might not know.
Klem, who is retiring at the end of the school year, is directing “Kindertransport,” a 1993 play by Diane Samuels about a woman whose Jewish parents sent her to a foster family in Great Britain so she could escape the coming Holocaust. In the play, the woman is trying to make sense of it as an adult with a British-born daughter. The play starts Wednesday and runs through Saturday in the Studio Theatre at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on the CU campus.
It’s based on a true story: More than 10,000 children were saved in the Kindertransport effort.
“We’re all really excited about this play,” Klem said. “It’s a unique play in how it’s staged, an interesting story that many people might not be aware of, an intriguing bit of history.”
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Eva (Allexys Johnson) bonds with her British family after a rough start, eventually becomes a British citizen and leaves Judaism behind. When her daughter Faith (Kathleen Watz) finds letters about her mother’s past, she compels her mother to share her story.
“The scenes are very emotional and involve people who are not always understanding each other, talking past one another, trying to come to grips with something as devastating as the Holocaust. The cast has totally committed to it, given that story and the importance of those memories and that history,” Klem said.
The seven-member cast learned British and German accents to accurately portray their characters.
Klem has been at Creighton for 40 years and has directed more than 40 productions there. He’s worked with thousands of students, some of whom have gone on to careers in New York and Los Angeles.
A panel discussion with educators from the Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha will take place after Friday night’s performance.