La MaMa presents a drama about Libyan Jews during WWII that explores a cultural narrative that is conspicuously absent from prevalent stories of the Holocaust. More…
'Benghazi–Bergen-Belsen' is an original play set in the '40s based on the novel of the same name by Yossi Sucary. Silvana Hajaj is an ambitious young Jewish feminist from Benghazi, Libya. She is transported with her family to Germany's Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. There she meets Rebecca, a young Dutch Jew, and the play tracks their encounter, which is layered with cultural and sexual tensions. By citing the marginalized racial politics of the Holocaust, the show urges a reconsidering of both historical and contemporary religious, cultural, and racial oppression and violence.
“‘Benghazi Bergen-Belsen’ takes on some of the heaviest possible topics with a delicate balance, simultaneously poetic and devastating…The scenes between Silvana and Rebecca are breathtaking…Butcher and Azrielant, both admirable performers, pull the audience's heart strings with their vulnerability and courage…The deeply personal tale of a young woman's Holocaust journey will leave you enthralled with the beauty of the survivors' love, their strength, and their unsurmountable pain." Full Review
"The play is well constructed and staged, though at times the direction by Michal Gamily is a bit amateurish, but overall it was well executed thanks to the touching performance of Lilly Leah Azrielant as Rebecca and Mohammad Bakri as Rebecca’s Father...Lahav Timor’s take is powerful and very well articulated. The play manages to grasp your full attention, until the very end. Unfortunately the show resolves in the last five minutes and this feels a bit chaotic." Full Review
See it if You enjoy profound dramas of individuals caught up in historic events and appreciate multilingual/multicultural storytelling.
Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with not understanding every word of the dialogue and prefer happy endings.
See it if you want an experience in subtlety & fear, a holocaust story that could be about any minority. It will leave you emotional & questioning.
Don't see it if You are not interested in history and drama or you plan on smiling all the way through. This is heavy, very intense, sad & all too real.
See it if you want gorgeous staging, lighting and a beautifully composed sound-score, with a strong ensemble cast, evocative images that stick
Don't see it if many languages & an onstage translator bug you, it can be disorienting in a good way, but not for everyone, dark but not brutal or gruesome
See it if You want to see a play about a family and what happens when they become prisoners. You want to see a great play with some powerful actors
Don't see it if You are not interested in historical plays. You don't want to see a great play.
See it if You want to learn about something that not many people talk about, with an extremely talented cast, great staging, and a haunting storyline.
Don't see it if You don't like sad, haunting shows.
See it if you want a serious, moving show about violence & human cruelty. It's performed in four languages; the live translator blends in seamlessly.
Don't see it if you dislike low production values and minimal sets, or if you have difficulty with plays in translation. Also, the quality of acting varies.
See it if Should be titled A Family's Descent into Hell, masterful telling of Nazi persecution, will leave you crying, a must see for all to learn!
Don't see it if True to life terrifying dramatizations upset/depress you, you prefer the "big" stage feeling
See it if You are not intimidated by 65 min in 4 languages as history unfolds w narrator interpreter on minimal stage.
Don't see it if You want to smile. If a slow walk to death is not your taste. The title tells it all.
See it if You seek a visually spare if lighting tech distracting investigation involving the holocaust, family and love.
Don't see it if You don't want to work too hard to try and follow a complex challenging story.
See it if you want to experience a subtle meditation on fear. Although the focus is Libyan Jews during WWII, they could be any minority caught in war
Don't see it if you need a clear plot. A play within a play, the main character acts out the story she is telling but key information comes only at the end.
See it if you seek out any and all representation of queer women or the Holocaust, no matter how bad.
Don't see it if you like shows to be coherent and thoughtfully conceived, characters to have believable motivations, and queer women to actually be queer.
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