BRISTOL -- In light of Veterans Day, the St. Paul High School Performing Arts is performing the true-life Holocaust drama, “Angel in the Night.”
The play is the winner of the American Alliance for Theater and Education’s Distinguished Play Award. “Angel in the Night is student-run and being directed by Mark Mazzarella.
It focuses on the courageous people who risked their lives to help persecuted Jews escape from Nazi soldiers in World War II and is based on the real actions of one brave young Polish woman, Marsia Pawlina Szul, during the Holocaust.
She courageously harbored a mother, her newborn boy, young daughter and another young Jewish girl in a homemade bunker for two years as she led Nazi soldiers away from the family. Even when she was discovered, she remained silent despite being tortured.
“I wanted to do something a little different, and this story is told through a teenager’s eyes. It’s an interesting version of a story of the Holocaust,” Mazzarella said. “It’s a complex show. It’s a tough show to watch because of a lot of not-so-good things that happen, but we found a theatrical way to demonstrate them.”
“I chose it for a specific reason. With all that has been going on, I thought of this story about compassion. I felt responsible to share a story that was positive during a dark time period,” Mazzarella continued. “I wanted students to learn what really happened.”
He explained that a lot of learning and research went into the production to provide a greater sense of what was going on and “then tying the story to today.”
“I’m a firm believer in theater that can change. It’s a powerful experience,” he said, adding that the play mirrors this year’s school theme of human compassion and has never been performed by a Connecticut-based high school.
Parents should be aware that the Holocaust drama explores some mature themes, captivity, self-preservation, religious persecution and perseverance. There are a couple of disturbing images of the war and some scenes of violence.
Mazzarella explained that is would be safe to base the appropriateness of the play on the child’s knowledge of the Holocaust though, he believe it is suitable for children in grades 8 and above.
“Angel in the Night” runs from Nov. 10, to Nov. 12, at the St. Paul Catholic High School. Performances are at 7 p.m. the first two nights and there is a 2 p.m. matinee on the last day.
Tickets are on sale and cost $8 for students, $15 adults and $12 for individuals over 65. Tickets may be reserved and purchased online at spchs.com or purchase by calling the school at 860-584 0911. The same number can be used to contact Mark Mazzarella should parents have any concerns about the appropriate age level for the play.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-973-5088.