Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer

Polish Catholic social worker Irena Sendler defies Nazi rule to save 2,500 Jewish children during WWII. Her true story remains lost until three Protestant high school students from rural Kansas find an old clipping, launching them on a journey to discover how one person can change the course of history.

May
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        1. 31
          1. 5:30 pm
            Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer

            See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/05/irena-sendler-rescuing-the-rescuer/ for details.

            Location: Spriet Family Theatre

        June
        1. Sun
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        1. 1
          1. 8:00 pm
            Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer

            See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/05/irena-sendler-rescuing-the-rescuer/ for details.

            Location: Spriet Family Theatre

        2. 2
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              1. 2:00 pm
                Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer

                See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/05/irena-sendler-rescuing-the-rescuer/ for details.

                Location: Spriet Family Theatre

            2. 5
              1. 7:00 pm
                Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer

                See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/05/irena-sendler-rescuing-the-rescuer/ for details.

                Location: Spriet Family Theatre

            3. 6
              1. 7
                1. 8:00 pm
                  Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer

                  See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/05/irena-sendler-rescuing-the-rescuer/ for details.

                  Location: Spriet Family Theatre

              2. 8
                1. 9
                  1. 6:30 pm
                    Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer

                    See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/05/irena-sendler-rescuing-the-rescuer/ for details.

                    Location: Spriet Family Theatre

                2. 10

                  3 thoughts on “Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer”

                  1. Laurie Bursch
                    Reviewer
                    says:

                    A mournful violin sets the scene for a young Jewish boy’s song. He’s the first of ten people played by the talented Libby Skala, in this moving tale of a woman we’ve never heard of – Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who saved 2,500 hundred Jewish children during the Second World War. As one of the two Kansas high school students in the piece asks, “How come we’re never heard of this woman?” Skala conjures up these two, and eight more – Irena’s children and neighbours, the teenagers and their teacher – with a single scarf for a prop, along with accents and postures, bringing these honest, brave, real people to us. It’s a powerful story told in a compelling way.

                    ****

                  2. Steve Kopp says:

                    Thanks for the review Laurie. It has made me want to see the show for sure.

                  3. Jay Ménard
                    Reviewer
                    says:

                    Irena Sendler: The Right Story, the Wrong Presentation

                    Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer is a valuable show to see for the simple fact that it’s a story that needs to be told and retold. Thankfully, the story is so compelling that it overcomes some of the challenges with Libby Skala’s presentation.

                    It’s a tremendously hard show to review because any criticism feels almost sacrilegious. But separating the plot from the performance, there are areas that can be refined and improved to make an already impactful story more compelling.

                    The play is about Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who saved over 2,500 Jewish children during the Second World War by convincing parents living in the Warsaw ghetto to give up their children, who would be adopted into Catholic families. Her story is largely lost to time (and the rise of communism in Poland) until students from a Kansas high school learn about her through a history project.

                    Skala plays many roles in this production, from Sendler herself, to the students, to a teacher, to Sendler’s son, neighbours, and even a Mother Superior from a Polish orphanage. Often the only discernable difference in the characters is the way she wears a pink scarf.

                    The story is primarily told by two students, which is unfortunate, because they’re the least appealing part of the play — at least as Skala presents them. They are presented as stereotypes — vapid, flighty examples of teenagers, presented more like pre-teens in nature and temperment.

                    The story, unfortunately, remains focused on a superficial level. We see Sendler as an icon — which is reinforced by the other characters that are introduced to help drive the narrative, but we learn little about her. We know little about her motivations, beyond a “good people do good things” statement her father shares with her as a youth. We learn little about her life after the war, other than vague allusions to communist oppression. It feels like there’s an opportunity to explore much deeper into Sendler than this plays allows.

                    Skala does hit her stride playing Sendler herself. And Steve May’s mournful violin adds a poignant touch to the transitions. And, most importantly, the story is one that deserves to be told and heard by audiences everywhere. For that reason alone, it’s worth seeing. As it stands, this play shows the foundation upon which a much more compelling production of a woman who deserves to be known can be built.

                    **

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