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Train To Zakopane - Theatre Review - A Love/Hate Story

By Serita Stevens

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Tanna Frederick and Mike Falkow are worth waiting for!!  The new play by Henry Jaglom, Train To Zakopane, now appearing at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, had been delayed for several weeks as Chris Stone designed elaborate sets to create the atmosphere of the day.  Directed by Gary Imhoff and produced by Alexandra Guarnieri, this is a play that will keep you riveted to your seats. 


Based on true events that happened to the author's father in pre-WWII Poland, with anti-Semitism rife throughout Europe but especially in the Poland, the story starts as a successful Russian businessman, Semyon Sapir (Mike Falkow) rides a train toward Warsaw.  Invited by a priest, Father Alexandrov (Stephen Howard),  Mme. Nadia Selmeczy (Cathy Arden) and Polish army nurse Katia Wampusyk (Tanna Frederick) to join them in their car, Semyon listens as the young nurse spews forth racial slurs stating that she can "smell a Jew a mile away." 


Train to Zakopane - Mike Falkow and Tanna Frederick

Torn between telling the truth, that he is Jewish, and keeping his silence, Semyon plans a ruse.   As the train nears the resort ski town of Zakopane, where his mother had been turned away from hospital care because of her religion,  he takes action.  Leaving the train with the nurse, still listening to her anti-Semitic remarks, her slowly learns her history and the core of her hatred.  To his horror, he finds out that she is the very nurse who banned his mother from treatment.  Will he get his revenge? 


 Receiving advice from Dr. Nahum Gruenbaum (Jeff Elam), a Jew in hiding, Semyon vacillates on confessing his secret to Katia.  He's fallen in love with her and she, apparently, with him, as her friend Marousia Petronko (Kelly Desarla) can clearly see.   We, the audience, are torn with him, both wanting him to tell her the truth and getting her to admit to the falsity in her claims, and wanting the budding love relationship to continue.   Love might be the other side of hate, but is hate really the other side of love? 


Train to Zakopane - Tanna Frederick and Mike Falkow

Ms. Frederick most recently starred in the award winning The Rainmaker, Sylvia and Mr. Jaglom's Just 45 Minutes From Broadway.    Mr. Falkow has been seen in numerous TV shows and films. 


Lighting design was done by Juliette Klencher, costume was prepared by Shayna Frederick and assisted by Kitty Reddy, while Maryne Daavid worked as the scenic artist, Pete Hickok as master carpenter, and Daniel Robertson managed the front of the house.  Teferi Seifu handled the stage assisted by Yusuke Matsuda and Roxanne Lecrivain was property master. 


Tickets are $34.99 for general admission and the show commences at 7:30 pm Thursday through Saturday nights and Sundays at 5:00 pm.  The Edgemar Center is located at 2437 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405.  Paid parking is available, but there is also street parking.  For reservations call 310 392-7327.


Train To Zakopane rides on until March 29, 2015,  with a brief hiatus from December 21, 2014 through to January 8, 2015.  They will also be closed March 8, 2015.

Published on Nov 29, 2014

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