Saturday, July 3, 2010
Westerbork Serenade Netherlands 2010: The Inside Scoop...
(Left)Film-makers: Erga Netz & Izzy Abrahami,
(Center)Producer: Xaviera Hollander,
Actor/Writer: David Natale (right)
David Natale collaborates with Happy Hooker and radical film-makers to bring show to Holland
-and we need your help!
That's right Westerbork Serenade will be in the Netherlands Nov 19th-29th! (see previous blog)
Nu,so how did this come about?
I look back on all the twists and turns this project has taken me along over the past years:
First it was my MFA thesis project at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego back in 1996. Then I did the show at the first New York City Fringe Fest in 1998. In '99 we did a version at my friends' theatre in Williansburgh Brooklyn. For the rest of the decade I continued to perform the piece at various venues throughout New York City and the East Coast.
At every performance and with every version, I have met survivors and historians. Each time I have learned a little bit more about Westerbork and have explored more deeply the vile subtlties of this particular story of the Shoah.
In 2006 I produced a reading of the piece with a full cast of actors in Seattle. In 2008, under the direction of Gin Hammond, we returned to the solo style and re-worked the show to eliminate props and costume changes.
The 2008 show, a co-production with Rik Deskin and the Eclectic Theatre Company in Seattle, won a Seattle Times Foot-Light Award (see 12/29/08 entry)
My web-site and blog were set up and I began to receive inquiries from relatives and descendants of performers from Westerbork. I also got a variety of queries from historians, film-makers, art dealers and con artists.
Sarah Waisvitz (see 11/12/08 entry)inquired about her Grandmother's husband, Max Kannewaser, who was Jones in the Dutch singing duo: Johnny and Jones.
Last fall Gin Hammond saw a Theatre Communications Guild grant emphasizing international collaboration.
Soon after, documentary film makers: Erga Netz and Izzy Abrahami ( http://www.antv.nl/ ), who live in the Netherlands, contacted me because they are working on a film about Johnny and Jones and were coming to the U.S. to interview Ms. Waisvitz's Grandmother.
I agreed to join them in San Fransisco to help with their interview if they could help me with the TCG collaboration grant (see 10/15/09 entry).
In February. I went to SF and was interviewed by Netz and Abrahami. We also visited the assisted living facility where Jones' widow lives. There I performed the song, "The Westerbork Serenade," for Mrs. Waisvitz, her son and granddaughter, as well as other residents.
Abrahami and Netz had connected me to the famous Dutch writer and former madam: Xaviera Hollander. Some of you might remember her from your school days (or behind the school) when you read her 1971 best seller: The Happy Hooker.
Xaviera is still writing. She also runs bed and breakfasts in Amsterdam and Mirabella Spain and she produces small theatrical productions, often with Jewish themes ( http://www.xavierahollander.com/booker ).
Xaviera agreed to produce my show.
Long story short: I did not get the TCG grant. But with the help of Fans and Angels in the Seattle area, the Netherlands shows will happen.
Xaviera has booked dates in Amsterdam and The Hague. Netz and Abrahammi will film the performances as well as a trip to the actual camp Westerbork. I will also appear on a talk show in Drenthe, a town near where Westerbork is located.
We still could use help.
There will be a benefit performance on October 13Th at the Odd Duck Studio in Seattle.
In the meantime feel free to donate at www.westerborkserenade.com. Just hit the "donate" tab which leads you to Pay-Pal where you can donate to firstname.lastname@example.org .
We could also use technical support:
someone to help with sound and or lights in the Netherlands-as well as running interference for me.
I don't have much money, but you can stay with me there and there is a possibility of some help with a plane ticket.
Hey if you will be over there anyway, let me know.