The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Last night friends joined my husband and me at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre (downtown Berkeley, CA) for a production of The Pianist of Willesden Lane. The run has just started and will continued through December 8, 2013, which gives you time to make plans to see it.
The story is based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane written by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen, describing the experiences of children of the Kindertransport during World War II. The cast of characters is a cast of one: Mona Golabek. For 90 minutes we were enthralled as she shared the story of her mother, Lisa Jura. The narrative was interspersed with the music which meant so much to both mother and daughter; "each piece of music tells a story," in the words of Lisa Jura. It's safe to say not one person in the audience wasn't moved by their experience.
The play is adapted and directed by Hershey Felder, who has an extraordinary talent for melding his great love for and knowledge of classical music with the human story, whether it is that of Lisa Jura, the heroine of The Pianist of Willesden Lane, or when he portrays one of the composers like Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Bernstein, or George Cohen
The Pianist of Willesden Lane is an ode to the human spirit and the resiliency of people as they cope with situations beyond their control, and is a 'not to be missed' play if you are anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area.