‘Silent Witnesses’ at the Odyssey Theatre, reviewed

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

A genuinely humanizing, beautiful and hopeful amalgamation of the conversations of four women, one of whom is the therapist of the other three, Silent Witnesses at the Odyssey Theatre articulates the narrative memories of child survivors of the Holocaust.

Stephanie Satie takes this one woman show into a quiet place to amplify a potent recanting of the Holocaust through the eyes of innocents.  Morphing into each character with impeccable craft she brings to life four heartbreaking yet incredibly inspiring realities.  Not ghastly in any way, Silent Witnesses is smart and uncommonly warm.

Truly unique of any of Hitler’s victims are the youngest Jewish children who were growing up under the Nazi regime.   For so many years their experiences were pushed aside and unspoken because they were ONLY kids.  They were allotted zero importance at the expense of even their own people’s collective cultural wail. Yet these children were ripped from everything they knew and throughout the Nazi rule, absolutely silently bore witness to every atrocity.  They grew up in the shadows, confused, terrified, displaced, even rejected by their own so they would have a chance to survive.  Some of the fairer ones, the pretty ones, even hid in plain site of Hitler’s gestapo, blended into sympathetic Aryan families for protection.  But because they were babies or practically so, they were almost ignored and that was their “luck”.

Most didn’t even know that there were others — hundreds of thousands like them, or a story to tell.  But theirs is probably the most important because they are the boys and the girls who lived.  Yet, for decades they did not have voice — until now.

It’s a short run with only two more Sunday performances left.  And it’s an easy show to sit through.   My only only disappointment with Silent Witnesses is not having a resolution with the therapist’s character with her personal history and family.  I would have liked to have known if she ever did keep her promise to go back to Lvov, to come face to face with a shocking fact revealed about her father.  Otherwise, this is one production that wholeheartedly deserves a last look before it disappears once again.  Ms. Satie is a brilliant storyteller.

Written and performed by Stephanie Satie Directed by Anita Khanzadian

%d bloggers like this: