One-woman drama tells story of Holocaust victims

Playwright Claudia Stevens will perform a one-woman musical drama, “An Evening With Madame F,” at Wake Forest University on April 6.

The free and public event will begin at 8 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall.

“An Evening with Madame F” is a mix of music, song and drama that depicts the actual experience of Fania Fenelon, an Auschwitz inmate forced to provide musical entertainment to the Nazis. Along with a group of other musician inmates, the main character performed show tunes and opera arias for concentration camp officials.

In her performance, Stevens conveys the struggle and ethical dilemma of the musicians. The show’s musical score includes songs actually performed at Auschwitz and another camp. Along with the grim irony of cheerful show tunes and beautiful arias, the production also includes haunting songs of faith and resistance sung by the inmates.

“An Evening With Madame F” has had more than 80 presentations in cities and college campuses nationwide, as well as a production broadcast by PBS.

Both of Stevens’ parents were concentration camp survivors. Following her performance, she will take questions from the audience about her parents’ stories and how those experiences marked her and inspired her to create musical dramas about the Holocaust.

Stevens is a professor of music at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. She was commissioned by the Richmond Jewish Federation in Richmond, Va., to create a work that honors the musicians who were forced to perform music in the horrific conditions of the Nazi concentration camps.

The event is sponsored by Wake Forest’s Jewish Student Organization, the music department and the chaplain’s office. For information, call 336-758-5026.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Events