Theater Review: NEVER IS NOW (Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles)

by Joan Alperin on September 26, 2019

in Theater-Los Angeles

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Wendy Kout, the playwright of Never Is Now asks the question, “What happens when people from diverse backgrounds experience the firsthand accounts of ten survivors who were labeled ‘undesirable’ and thrust into Hitler’s systematic genocide?”

She shows us exactly what happens in a very powerful, emotional and disturbing way. It doesn’t take long before Skylight Theatre patrons realize that atrocities which happened in Germany so many years ago could very well happen in our country today, if it hasn’t already started. Who would ever imagine that this country would separate children them from their parents and deny political asylum to people fleeing from repressive and dangerous regimes, all to Make America Great Again, a phrase not unlike those Hitler used regarding Germany. Kout writes, “The Holocaust story is not just for the Jewish people. It’s for and about any minority that is threatened by hate.”
Never Is Now is adapted from her play Survivors, which she was commissioned to write and develop. Produced by the Center Stage Theatre at the Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester, Survivors became a touring school production.
When the play opens we meet ten actors of diverse backgrounds, including a Filipino, an African American and a Deaf woman with partial facial paralysis. They play actors, a playwright, and a director rehearsing Survivors. Throughout the play they break character to tell their own personal stories which leads them to realize that the stories of Holocaust survivors parallel in some ways their own.

Thanks to directors Tony Abatemarco and Celia Mandela Rivera, the actors all give very moving performances and by the end of the play, I was emotionally devastated. This is a very important play. Soon the survivors will be gone, but it’s vital that their stories live on. Never Is Now is making sure that happens.

photos by Ed Krieger

Never Is Now
Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 North Vermont Ave.
Fri at 8:30; Sat at 4 & 8:30; Sun at 2 (dark Sep 29)
ends on October 27, 2019
for tickets, call 866.811.4111 or visit Skylight

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