OGRODOWA STREET Based on the Life of Rachmiel Frydland
Ogrodowa Street trailer
Or watch a high res version of the trailer for OGRODOWA STREET at https://fb.watch/bfR9BVtojf/
In 2016 my long-time friend Elliot Klayman asked if I would write a one-person show based on Rachmiel’s autobiography, “When Being Jewish Was a Crime.” Eventually it became clear that Rachmiel’s struggles and tragedies would be better presented using two actors. The result was OGRODOWA STREET, the story of Rachmiel Frydland and Stasiek Eisenberg, a fellow-traveler whom Rachmiel knew from the fellowship they attended at that address in Warsaw. They meet once again in the Warsaw Ghetto, only weeks before it would fall. There Rachmiel’s life is forever changed.
Twenty-four-year-old Rachmiel Frydland smuggles himself into the Warsaw Ghetto, with just one thought: to die—an “achievement” that has eluded him through four years of Nazi occupation in Poland. The young Jewish Yeshiva dropout, who had disappointed everyone by becoming a Christian, is now plagued by this new failure—the simplest of goals in the cruelest of times. In the ghetto, he runs into an old friend who insists that Rachmiel smuggle himself back out and escape death once more. The two spend the night reminiscing, arguing and struggling over Rachmiel’s worst fear: that he has been “condemned to live.” As they wait for the sun to rise, honesty is at a premium, faith is hard to muster, and Rachmiel’s decision can no longer be avoided.
OGRODOWA STREET premiered in Cary, NC, November 27-December 5, 2021
Director: LYNDA CLARK
Featuring JASON CHRIST at Rachmiel Frydland and MICHAEL SEAN PARKER as Stasiek Eisenberg
Lighting/Sound: CORY ARNOLD
COMMENTS from online viewers. See the recorded performance here.
“This is why God created people who write plays. As a playwright you made the story come alive. Yes, you created some background, enhanced some characters, moved some events and even created others. But that’s your job! Thank you for allowing us to see this play.” —L. Bittner, Silver Spring, MD
“Wonderful performances and such moving writing. The direction, too, how the actors moved into various roles, was so powerful. Huge congratulations!” —D. Kaufman, Hillsborough, NC
“I was moved close to tears by the play, while marveling at the craft involved. The writing, the direction, and the actors who had so much dialogue to recall and perform. Well done. Well done. I continue to sit here close to tears, so very grateful that Rachmiel Frydland has been honored in this way.” —S. Dauermann, Altadena, CA
“BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO. A touching story told in a very touching way!” —N. Malwitz, Ellicott City, MD
“This was a very powerful play that moved me deeply. You created Rachmiel’s world in a way that anyone could relate to the reality he that lived. Wow! The staging, lighting, blocking etc., too, right? The use of minimal multi-purposed props was so effective. The actors you cast were so strong in their roles, big and small, that they moved in and out of as the play progressed. I appreciated the intensity of the dialogue, which was enhanced by your choice to make it continuous from beginning to the end, with no break. Thanks so much for making it possible for us to see this online!!!! This play should be more widely seen. I wish you could have heard all of us clapping at the end! Brava!!!” —N. Dauermann, Altadena, CA
“I really enjoyed the event! It was so moving to imagine what things must have been like for Rachmiel as a young man, and the difficulties he had do deal with, not only because of the Nazi scourge, but being a believer on top of that.” —Z. Glaser, Brooklyn, NY
“WOW!!! I am blown away by quite a few aspects of the play, not the least of which is the use of your secondary actor playing several divergent parts, including a small child!! He was as brilliant as the lead.” —R. Warren, Los Angeles, CA