The Actors Rehearse the Story of Charlotte Salomon is a workshop presentation of an original play by David Bridel, Penny Kreitzer and Jonathan Rest that conveys the artistic journey and ultimate tragedy of Charlotte Salomon, by tracing her life story through the relationship she had with her stepmother, opera singer Paula Lindberg.
Structured as a play-within-a-play, it recounts the short life, inspiration and astonishing artwork of Charlotte Salomon, a young German painter who fled Berlin in 1939 to live with her grandparents in Vichy, France before it was occupied by the Nazis. Over the next few years, she created a startling artistic oeuvre: 1325 notebook-sized gouache paintings, accompanied by textural narration and operatic musical cues. She went on to arrange 769 of them into scenes and acts, titling the epic Life or Theater (Leben? Oder Theater). In 1943, at the age of 26, shortly before she was arrested by the Gestapo, Charlotte Salomon gave her works to a trusted friend, Doctor Moridis, saying, "Keep this safe. It is my whole life." Soon thereafter she was taken to Auschwitz and probably gassed within an hour of arrival.
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