STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME Get Tickets
Music by Gerald Cohen
Libretto by Deborah Brevoort
JANUARY 25 | 27 | 28 | 30 | 2018
The Wolf Theatre | Mizel Arts and Culture Center in Denver
TO SAY “THEY BEAT THE ODDS” IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.
In this intimate opera, Cohen and Brevoort tell the true story of a group of Dutch Jews who are deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the last year of World War II. Surrounded by horrors of the Holocaust, Jaap and Manja Polak’s already fragile marriage dissolves as he turns his attentions to Ina Soep. The love that Jaap and Ina share helps sustain them through the daily challenges of concentration camp life as they secretly pass love letters to each other. As librettist Deborah Brevoort so beautifully states, “It was a simple story, to be sure – of ordinary breakfasts, and butter for bread – but it nevertheless held great power and ultimately enabled them to survive. When everything is taken away, only the essential remains.”
TOTAL RUN TIME: 2 Hours 30 Minutes, with one 20 minute intermission.
Did you know? Jaap and Ina were married for nearly 70 years after the events of the Opera.
Omer Ben SeadiaDirector
Inna DukachIna Soep
Gideon DabiJaap Polak
Adriana ZabalaManja Polak
Ticketholders are invited to stay in the theater following select performances of Steal a Pencil for Me to participate in insightful discussions related to the production.
Saturday, January 27: Creative Team Q&A
Opera Colorado General Director Greg Carpenter moderates a Q&A with the creative team behind Steal a Pencil for Me, including composer Gerald Cohen, librettist Deborah Brevoort, Opera Colorado Music Director Ari Pelto, and stage director Omer Ben Seadia. Plus, they’ll be joined by special guest Margrit Polak—daughter of Jaap and Ina Polak, the couple whose amazing true story is the basis of this heartfelt new opera.
Sunday, January 28: Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action
Dr. Tim Kubik, chair of the Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action, moderates a discussion between composer Denise Gentilini, whose musical I AM ALIVE was inspired by her grandparents’ survival of the Armenian Genocide; Mrs. Karen Z. Brass, a second generation Holocaust educator and speaker whose father was a Holocaust survivor; and Helen Achol Abyei, a refugee from South Sudan who continues to share the stories of her people.
About the Sunday Discussion Panelists:
Dr. Tim Kubik’s arc of professional learning spans 21 years of teaching in primary through post-graduate learning environments. Over the past eleven years, he has facilitated workshops for over 5,000 educators from around the world. Tim brings a spirit of passionate and innovative collaboration to the complex challenges learning organizations face, while striving to offer the same for individual teacher professional development on a personal level. He offers examples of this work in his forthcoming book: Unprepared for What We Learned: Six Action Research Exercises that Challenge the Ends We Imagine for Education. Dr. Kubik is currently chair of the Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action.
Denise Gentilini is an Emmy award winning composer who focuses her passion on writing songs with intention. After decades of experience writing music for documentary films, Denise tapped her Armenian background to co-write and produce her first musical, I AM ALIVE, inspired by her grandparents’ survival of the Armenian Genocide. Believing in the power of music as a universal language, Denise hopes to be able to continue to use her music as a voice for the voiceless.
Mrs. Karen Z. Brass is an internationally recognized professional second generation Holocaust educator and speaker. She is the daughter of Mr. David Zauder, a Holocaust survivor and detainee in 5 concentration camps, one being Auschwitz Death Camp. Mrs. Brass has provided her father’s personal account concerning the atrocities that befell his family and other victims of the Holocaust. Since 1982 she has spoken at more than 800 public and private schools, synagogues, churches and to many educational and community groups as well as to our esteemed military.
Helen Achol Abyei came to Denver from South Sudan in November, 2002. She is a mother of six children and has 17 grandchildren. She was a very active member of the Sudan community before it became independent, and while waiting for her resettlement papers in Egypt, she volunteered by interpreting testimonies for her fellow asylum seekers. As a refugee from South Sudan, she continues to talk about the situation of her people during these past years in Denver, and has received her BA in Psychology from CU Denver with a minor in Theater.
THIS WORLD PREMIERE OF STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME IS SPONSORED BY:
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM:
The Paula and William Bernstein Family Foundation
Norm and Sunny Brownstein
Joy and Chris Dinsdale
The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts
Harold and Ann Logan
Ann and Gerald Saul
PENCIL PERSPECTIVES by Betsy Schwarm