TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE

Edgemar Center for the Arts

Reviewed by Carol Kaufman Segal

 

 

Mike Falkow - Tanna Frederick

 

The Train to Zakopane is a new play by Henry Jaglom making its world premiere at The Edgmar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. It takes place in Poland in 1928 and is based on a true story about his father, a happening that he remembered during his entire lifetime.

As the train was crossing Poland on its way to Warsaw, three strangers are sitting comfortably in a compartment for four travelers. They are Father Alexandrov (Stephen Howard), Mme Nadia Selmeczy (Kathy Arden), a bygone actress, and Katia Wampusyk (Tanna Frederick), a young nurse in the army.

Those travelers without compartments are jam-packed and uncomfortable on the train. Since there is room for one more person to enjoy the comfort that the three of them are fortunate enough to have, Father Alexandrov suggests to the two ladies that they find someone who looks worthy to join them. They agree, and as he looks out at the crowd, he spies a charming and clean-cut looking gentleman, his name, Semyon Sapir (Mike Falkow), a successful Russian businessman.

As the four begin conversing and becoming acquainted, somehow the conversation brings up the Jewish people and Katia reveals her dislike for the Jews and her very strong anti-Semitism. Since Semyon has found himself drawn to Katia, (and she, seemingly to him), he questions her about why she is so terribly opinionated against the Jewish people (without revealing that he is Jewish).

Time passes, sleeping arrangements are made, but before morning, Semyon and Katia decide to get off of the train at the resort area of Zakopane instead of going on to Warsaw. While in Zakopane, their romance blossoms, and Semyon is torn over his deception. Can love overcome prejudices? He will have to take the chance since he is unable to go on without letting Katia know who he really is. When he finally tells her, will Katia’s love for Semyon be strong enough to forget her hatred for his people?

Tanya Frederick is glorious as Katia, baring all of the emotions of her character. She is strong in her prejudices, but just as powerful when it comes to showing her love. The entire cast, that also includes Kelly Desarla (Marousia Petranko) and Jeff Elam (Dr. Nahum Gruenbaum), give strong performances under the direction of Gary Imhoff.

Set Designer Chris Stone deserves credit for his wonderful sets, the train compartment that evolves into sleepers for four and for the beautiful setting of Zakopane.

Train To Zakopane plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM, Sundays at 5 PM, at the Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica CA. For reservations call (310) 392-7327, or go online at www.edgemarcenter.org.

Highly recommended.

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