By Wendy Graf
Co-sponsored by the Indiana University Borns Jewish Studies Program with support from the Pearl Schwartz Fund for the Jewish Arts
The multiple-award winning Leipzig was originally produced by the West Coast Jewish Theatre and the Group at Strasberg at the Marilyn Monroe Theater of the Lee Strasberg Institute, opening October 20, 2006.
Leipzig explores the journey of a three-member Catholic family whose matriarch descends into Alzheimer's disease -- and begins praying in Hebrew, unwittingly revealing her long held secret that she is Jewish and a child refugee of the Holocaust. Her daughter -- who has been raised as a Catholic with no idea of her mother's Jewish background -- must learn to cope with the revelation and with her new identity as a Jew, along the way invoking the assistance of a Jesus character to guide her through the process. The play is an exploration of religious identity, loyalty, parental bonds and the impact on the "second generation" of family secrets surrounding the Holocaust.
The year of its debut, Leipzig was nominated for Best New Play by the Los Angeles Drama Critics and won the Backstage West Garland Award for Best Play, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and the Backstage West Garland Award for Best Actress.