Silverthorne Theater will again bring to local audiences an important piece of dramatic writing: The Tattooed Man Tells All, a collection of stories about the Holocaust performed by New York Playwright Peter Wortsman. His gripping solo piece was woven from a series of interviews conducted, on a fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, in Vienna in 1975 with witnesses to and survivors of the Holocaust.
Silverthorne’s filmed version of the play will be broadcast online by Silverthorne Theater Company on Nov. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at stc.booktix.com. The production is a fundraiser for the Greenfield theater company. There will be a free live Zoom discussion with the playwright immediately following the viewing on Friday, Nov. 13. The link will be posted on Silverthorne’s website and on social media.
Silverthorne’s original live world premiere performance of this play in 2018, starring actor Keith Langsdale, was directed by Ellen Kaplan. The play will be performed in Germany at the Deutsches Theater in Göttingen this coming December.
By condensing these accounts into that of a survivor who is committed to a no-holds-barred retelling, Wortsman provides a fully fleshed-out dramatic character, the Old Man, warts and all, for the audience to come to know.
As the playwright says in his introduction, “The interchange(s) recorded on tape (were) painful to revisit … for my interlocutors’ merciless bluntness … the subject of which (the Old Man) speaks has since been loaded with a leaden label, idealized and idolized, riddled with spotlights, torchlit for moral uplift, hagioscopically highlighted with a reverence formerly reserved for the Crucifixion.”
The audience becomes the interviewer to whom the Old Man talks, retelling and reliving his time in the camp.
“I could be whatever they wanted — melt in — become part of the landscape — or better yet, turn into thin air so they could look right through me.”
From his closet comes his camp uniform that quickly assumes a life of its own. The stories weave in and out of the Old Man’s memories and paint a picture both fascinating and horrifying.
Why now? Now we need to hear and see again what ‘humanity’ is capable of under duress and at its darkest moments. “You can’t just dispose of the past, cut it out like a malignant tumor. It’s still there, it’s still an intimate part of me,” Wortsman said.
Silverthorne Theater Company is a registered non-profit arts organization founded in 2014. The company’s mission is to present adventurous, thought-provoking theatrical experiences, including productions of classic, contemporary and new works for diverse audiences.