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The Kreisau Project

At the center of Marc P. Smith’s creative work during his last 9 years (2002-2011) are two plays: “A Journey to Kreisau” and “Karski.” Both plays have at their core Marc’s strong commitment to ‘stand witness,’ to tell these two compelling stories of individual resistance to Hitler’s Nazi regime. They are stories that are only now being told, just over 70 years since the end of World War II. Marc believed profoundly that the arts were a powerful vehicle for the transmission of memory and, in the case of these two stories, for reconciliation between Germans, Jews, and Poles.

“A Journey to Kreisau” takes audiences on an emotional journey of moral courage centered on a young German couple, Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke. See Marc’s tribute to Freya in 2011 at Boston’s Goethe-Institut :

Marc’s last play, “Karski,” explores the harrowing experiences of a hero of the Polish underground, Jan Karski, often referred to as ‘the man who tried to stop the Holocaust.’ Both plays have been performed in several U.S. cities and in cities in Germany and Poland.

“There are many ways to present the little-known story of incredible individual courage in perilous times. Film, biography, painting, lectures—but to this list should be added theater. Reading Marc Smith’s play about Jan Karski is a powerful experience. I am confident that performers and audiences alike will be transformed by presenting  and watching Karski on stage. I encourage actors at schools and community theaters to tackle this powerful material.”   Wanda Urbanska, former president, Jan Karski Educational Foundation (JanKarski.net)

» About the plays

photo courtesy of Worcester Magazine


With deep sadness, we note the death of playwright Marc P. Smith, co-founder of Worcester Foothills Theatre and Blue Pumpkin Productions, on March 23, 2011 at the age of 77.

Foothills co-founder Marc Smith dies at 77, Richard Duckett, Telegram & Gazette

 

Foothills Theatre Blue Pumpkin Productions

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Staged Reading of “Karski” in Worcester, April 15th, 2015

In commemoration of Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a staged reading of selected scenes from Marc P. Smith’s play, Karski, was the focus of a remembrance event on April 15th, presented by the synagogues of Central Massachusetts and the Jewish Federation of Central Mass. An encouragingly large turnout, with all ages represented, provided a rapt and attentive audience for the powerful story of Jan Karski. This Polish underground hero is referred to as the man who tried to stop the Holocaust; his courage in bearing witness is a story worth re-telling, especially through the immediacy of live theatre.

Among many comments on this play:

“There are many ways to present the little-known story of incredible individual courage in perilous times. Film, biography, painting, lectures—but to this list should be added theater. Reading Marc Smith’s play about Jan Karski is a powerful experience. I am confident that performers and audiences alike will be transformed by presenting and watching ‘Karski’ on stage. I encourage actors at schools and community theaters to tackle this powerful material.”    – Wanda Urbanska (former president, Jan Karski Educational Foundation) 

“I was so moved by the staged reading of Karski. It served to remind me of the atrocities committed against fellow human beings that we must never be allowed to forget.”     -Pauline Gallant (R.N, Retired School Nurse)

“Karski’s story is heart wrenching and inspiring; it seems unthinkable and beyond believing, even though we now know better. The story revealed in Karski is ancient history to today’s school kids. So it’s imperative to keep alive the truth of it. The past is easily forgotten. We need to be reminded—over and over—forever.”   – Martha M. Hesse (Retired Educator)

Jan Karski

Jan Karski

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