Theater News

EXCLUSIVE: Janka, Inspired by Letter From Holocaust Survivor, to Play New York Run

Oscar Speace’s play is inspired by the story of his mother.

Artwork for Roust Theatre Company's production of Janka.
Artwork for Roust Theatre Company's production of Janka.

Janka, a new play by Oscar Speace, will make its debut this spring in an off-Broadway production presented by the Roust Theatre Company. Previews begin on April 2 at the June Havoc Theatre, with opening night set for April 9.

Speace's work is based on a 60-page handwritten letter by his mother, regarding the fate of her family in Nazi concentration camps in Romania. It was a secret she kept for 52 years. Speace and his brother, who enjoyed a normal life growing up in 1950s and '60s New Jersey, discovered the letter after their mother's death. The note was written several months after Janka's liberation from the camps, but never chose to speak of her experiences ever again.

James Philip Gates directs the production, which stars Janice Noga. The play comes to New York following engagements at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, as well as in London, Romania, Australia, and California. Janka has scenic design by Richard Hoover and lighting design by Travis Sawyer.

Roust Theatre Company is "dedicated to radical and epoch-making theater, aiming to challenge and inspire the audience, and producing theater that can and does make a difference in the world."

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