UCI Drama Presents Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s OUR CLASS

UCI Drama Presents Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s OUR CLASS

An intimate play depicting a rare tale of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust experience                                                                       

IRVINE, Calif. (October 31, 2016) – UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts Department of Drama presents its third offering of the 2016 – 2017 Season, Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s historical cautionary tale Our Class. Based on Jan T. Gross’ controversial book Neighbors, Our Class recounts the story of the massacre in the Jewish pogrom in Jedwabne in 1941 and various lenses through which this event is seen throughout the story’s 80 years. The play perfectly represents the themes the Department of Drama is exploring in its season “THEM!” – an investigation of the ways in which individuals and societal groups tend to scapegoat and cast blame on “the other,” rather than seek to find resolution and common ground. The show will run from December 1 - 4, 2016, presenting six performances.

UCI Drama’s production is directed by Professor Jane Page, and will take place in The Trevor School’s Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL), a space that allows for projected visual imagery to enhance the live performance. Professor Page has worked in consultation with Chair of Political Science Jeffrey Kopstein, who has written a forthcoming book on pogroms of this period and believes that Our Class is an accurate dramatization of the Jedwabne massacre. “The way the pogroms unfolded and occurred, as depicted in the play, strikes me as accurate and corresponds to the dozens of testimonies I’ve read,” confirms Professor Kopstein. “Jews often knew their Polish tormentors by name or social function. The violence was ‘intimate’ and not distant and bureaucratic as so much of Holocaust literature has led us to believe. Our Class captures this element of the tragedy exceptionally well.”

Słobodzianek’s play does a layered and complex job of examining the human condition within the Petri dish of historical circumstance, and asking – and more importantly asking the play’s audience – for an exploration of what individual reactions might be to a particular confluence of pressures and influences. “The events that occurred in Jedwabne didn’t happen in a bubble,” Professor Page says. “The people’s culture and history created an atmosphere that made this hideous episode possible. How each of them chooses to make sense of their involvement expresses the best and worst of human nature.”

Particularly given the current public climate of enmity and divisiveness, UCI Drama invites you to join us for the remaining productions in our 2016 – 2017 THEM! Season: Coriolanus, Clown Aliens, I Dream of Chang and Eng, and Avenue Q. We encourage you to accompany our creative teams, with an open heart and an inquisitive mind, on these thoughtful journeys through the voices and experiences of “the other.”

Performances and Ticket Information

Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL) at the Contemporary Arts Center, UC Irvine
Parking: Mesa Parking Structure, 4000 Mesa Road, Irvine 92617
Evenings: December 1, 2, 3 @ 8 p.m.
Evening: December 4 @ 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: December 3, 4* @ 2 p.m.
General Admission $15 / Seniors & Groups 10+ $14 / UCI Students & Children under 17 $11. Box Office (949) 824-2787 or www.arts.uci.edu/tickets.

The UCI Drama production team will host a post-performance TalkBack on December 4, 2016 after the 2 p.m. matinee with the creative team and cast.