Monday, March 30, 2009

A Memorable Class Acts Event

On Tuesday, March 24, middle school students attended My Heart in a Suitcase, a play by ArtsPower Touring Theatre. Based on a memoir written by Anne Lehman Fox, My Heart in a Suitcase portrays the story of one Jewish family’s experience living in pre-WWII Germany. Anne’s parents ultimately had to make the choice to send her to safety in England. Through the Kindertransport program, Anne was able to escape the fate of her parents and other Jews living in Nazi-occupied territories.

As an epilogue to Sangamon Auditorium’s presentation of the play, Dr. Heini Halberstam of Urbana, a Kindertransport traveler himself, spoke briefly to the audience about his experiences. Whereas the play mostly only led up to the time of Anne’s travels on the Kindertransport, Dr. Halberstam was able to fill in the gaps about what happened afterward and share bits and pieces about his own experience on the Kindertransport train and afterwards.
We have received some great feedback from teachers and students who attended this powerful performance:

Teacher - "Took my class to see the show today, and they LOVED it!!...They sat silently watching the entire show-AMAZING!! The interview afterward was also very interesting, we all enjoyed it! Thanks!"

Teacher – “This show has to be one of the best performances I have seen at Sangamon. I could barely fight back the emotions! To be able to get your audience so engrossed in such a short amount of time was powerful. Even our younger students (who had not been studying this topic) were able to understand and fully grasp the concept.”

Student – “The best show I've seen there.”

Teacher – “Most students thought the performance was really great. They loved the story and way it was presented. They liked the dramatic effects. Many commented that they really liked the fact that the professor was there to tell his own story after the performance. They talked about the performance for a couple of days. Impressive!”

Student – “I couldn’t help it, I cried.”
Teacher – “As an adult I was moved emotionally. My students realized that was the last time she'd see her parents and it helped them realize what the Holocaust meant to families.”

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