NJT to stage drama inspired by true story of concentration camp

Next up at the New Jewish Theatre starting in late January will be “Way to Heaven,” which tells of an elaborate hoax by the Nazis to beautify the ghetto/concentration camp of Theresienstadt before the International Red Cross came to inspect it in June 1944. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for visiting dignitaries. Expecting to see ghetto conditions like those in occupied Poland with people starving in the streets and armed policemen on the perimeter, the Red Cross inspectors were fooled by the deception and wrote a positive report.

Inspired by these true events, Spanish playwright Juan Mayoga wrote the play about the elaborate deception carried out at an eerily similar but fictional camp. Perception, the power of images, rhetoric and theater itself are among Mayorga’s themes, and the play asks how much courage is required to take responsibility for what one sees.

“Way to Heaven” will run in the Marvin & Harlene Wool Studio Theatre from Jan. 26 through Feb. 12. There will be multiple talkbacks and panel discussions throughout the run. Call the Box Office, 314-442-3283, for a schedule of these talk backs or for tickets or go to www.newjewishtheatre.org.