Distant Survivors, a play based on Holocaust poetry

January 21, 2019

What’s Happening

Temple Israel Night at the Theater

Saturday, February, 2, 7:30 pm
Zeiders American Dream Theatre

Distant Survivors, a play based on the stirring Holocaust poetry of William Heyen, that was adapted for the stage and directed by June Prager, runs January 24 through February 3 at Zeiders American Dream Theatre in Virginia Beach.

After the performance on Temple Israel Night at the Theatre, a question and answer session hosted by a member of the Distant Survivors cast will take place for congregants and guests.

In Prager’s adaptation of the poetry, an American of German descent tries to make sense of his ancestral past. The man encounters mbodiments of the Holocaust: a Nazi soldier, an elderly caretaker, a Jewish survivor, and others. Through his visit into the collective unconscious, the man takes the audience on a journey to places most would prefer to forget.

Distant Survivors is about survival as well as cruelty, and is particularly relevant today, as Americans experience ever-increasing polarization and see a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism across the globe.

Testimonials for Distant Survivors speak to the power of theatre to deepen an understanding of “the Other” and create a spark toward dialogue and communion.

Tickets are $20, and group rates are available. For more information, go to thez.org or call 757-499-0317.


June Prager has served as producing artistic director for several theaters in New York and Philadelphia, directing, managing, and evaluating productions and manuscripts for several prestigious institutions, such as the Rockefeller Foundation and American Playhouse. She has directed Off-Broadway, Equity Showcase productions, staged readings of plays, and revivals of classic and modern drama. For Theatre International Exchange, she directed all the international premieres, including Distant Survivors. Prager is the sister of Sheila Panitz, wife of Rabbi Michael Panitz.

William Helmuth Heyen is an American poet, editor, and literary critic. His works have been published in numerous literary journals and periodicals, including the New Yorker, the Ontario Review, the American Poetry Review, and online publications. His poetry has been published in anthologies, in limited-edition chapbooks and broadsides, and on audio.


To reserve a seat with Temple Israel, call 757-489-4550.

Letter to the Editor