Jewish Theatre of Bloomington Presents
Coming to See Aunt Sophie
June 13th, 14th, 18th,
20th and 21st
Location: Bloomington Playwrights Project
107 W 9th Street, Bloomington IN
Written by Arthur Feinsod
Directed by Dale McFadden
This full-length play is the true story of Jan Karski, both as a young Catholic courier for the Polish Underground during World War II, trying to stop the Holocaust and, thirty years later, as a Georgetown professor, reflecting on the activities of his younger self. Being interviewed for a Holocaust film in 1978, Karski retells and relives his perilous trip through Nazi-occupied Europe to England, then to the United States, using the secret code "Coming to See Aunt Sophie," with hundreds of secret microfilm documents shrunk to fit in a hollowed-out key but also with his eye-witness accounts from sneaking into the walled-up Warsaw Ghetto disguised as a Jew and a concentration camp disguised as a Ukrainian guard. Unsuccessful in his attempts to meet Churchill, he arrives in the United States, giving reports to Justice Frankfurter, a Jewish member of the Supreme Court, and, in July 1943, to President Roosevelt himself. Old Karski and Young Karski confront one another in this stirring drama about a haunted man who is a hero to everybody but himself.
Receiving enthusiastic responses everywhere it has performed, the play premiered this past May at the HERE AND NOW FESTIVAL in Mannheim, Germany. To celebrate the centenary of Karski’s birth, the Polish government sponsored performances in three Polish cities through the Museum of Polish History, culminating in a profoundly moving performance in Warsaw at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews on the grounds of the Old Jewish ghetto. Its American premiere occurred this past summer in Indiana at the Crossroads Repertory Theatre, followed by September performances in downtown Chicago at the Chopin Theatre, where the standing ovations have continued.