Last winter, Bena Shklyanoy gave a fascinating Living History presentation on her experience coming to Chicago as a Russian-Jewish immigrant in 1976. Now, her family’s story has been brought to the stage, in two new plays at the Piven Theatre in Evanston, written by Bena Shklyanoy and Kevin Olson.
And Then What? tells the story of earlier generations of a Jewish family living part of their lives in pre-Bolshevik Russia and how they struggled to survive under Soviet rule. Their experience was the foundation for the next generation’s decision to escape the repression that made life so difficult for Russian Jews. This play will be presented as a 90-minute staged reading.
How Many Bushels Am I Worth? continues the story in a fully produced 90-minute play that depicts the details of Bena’s story. It explores the decision to emigrate, what emigration involved, and the culture shock the family experienced when they arrived in the United States. From their arrival in Rogers Park to their eventual settlement in Skokie and their assimilation into American life, this is the classic American immigrant story with a Chicago focus we can all appreciate.
To complete the story, each performance will be followed by Cultural Inheritance: Stories of Children and Grandchildren of Soviet Jewish Immigrants a 10-minute film by Bena’s granddaughter, Abbie Matz, that looks at immigrant life from the perspective of later generations.
To purchase $40 tickets for the August 19 Double Feature, Click Here.
To purchase $25 tickets for other individual performance dates, Click Here.
There will be another $40 Double Feature on Wednesday, August 22. For groups of 10 or more, group rate tickets for individual performances are available for $20 each.