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Trust, Grandma, Mother and Me. A new solo piece in the works.

Read about Amy’s exciting new project in Huffington Post.

When our trust in the world shatters, it shatters like a holy spark of light.

When it shatters, it isn’t lost.

You travel into the darkness to reclaim each shattered shard, one by one.

Then, you reassemble those shattered pieces into a new, beautifully solid form: Trust, reimagined.

My grandparents were holocaust survivors who died as I fought for my own survival. My mother held my hand through it all – even while holding the heavy secret that I had been sexually abused. This is the story of two women reimagining trust and reclaiming life.

My Grandma and Survival

As the granddaughter of holocaust survivors, I believe that their strength and spirit enabled me to survive, inspiring a spirituality-fueled resilience. This summer, I compiled a collection of oral history interviews with my grandmother’s surviving relatives from Belgium to Brooklyn, from Israel to California, about their own experience of the war, and my relatives near and far from ages 19 to 89 about their memories of my grandmother.

What was most fascinating to me was that every member of the family claimed they didn’t “remember” anything, yet they all seemed to carry piece of the family narrative, and in stringing them together, I was able to link the missing pieces and construct an extraordinary journey of my family’s survival.

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I was struck by the relationship of history and memory, and the ways people tell stories.  Some told the same stories, some told different interpretations entirely, and some seemed to pick up where another left off. I was taken by the story of my grandmother’s strength through persecution, betrayal, and human suffering.

This brought me back to my own journey of survival at 18, the same age of my Grandmother in Auschwitz.  I lost faith in the Surgical ICU, and when I learned my grandmother had died while I was in a coma, I was too numb to cry. It was only when I allowed her memory to re-enter my life could I grieve, rediscover faith, and heal. My mother, who slept by my side in the ICU, went through this journey with me.

My Mother and Trust

Then, I started collecting oral histories from my mother on what it was like for her growing up with Holocaust survivor parents, which eventually evolved into a dialogue about women-hood, families, legacy, and our own relationship thus far.

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Soon, I had almost two hundred pages of interviews with just my mother alone. I was prompted to reflect on our  relationship over the years – always close, then enmeshed to various degrees:

Just like I had gone from teen to patient to warrior to various other roles within ten years, my mother had worn many hats as well:

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I combined these mother-daughter interviews with my own journaled narratives of betrayal when I was sexually abused by my voice teacher.  Then, I interwove my own beautiful family memories, with what it was like waking up from a coma and losing faith in everything.

And how, together, my mother and I regained faith…in every-thing.

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My grandparents

But mostly ourselves.

Mother, Grandma, and Faith

This new solo project is a fusion of documentary theatre, multimedia performance and primal storytelling.

I’m also combining original music – selected from over 40 songs I composed when healing from my coma…

Hear “Picture Frame”

– with the role of visual art in my own healing process.

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View art galleries here.

My mother and I were discharged from the hospital together in 2006 with no road map. By finally allowing my grandmother’s spirit to guide us, we could move forward and learn to trust again.

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Read more about this mixed media trust series

And the healing continues.

In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on this new, exciting project.  I’m collaborating once again with musical director David Brunetti, who helped me bring my one-woman musical, Gutless and Grateful to life in 2012.

Interested in learning more?  Want to get involved? I’m looking for collaborators!  Send me a note!

Return to the playwright section of my site here.

 

 

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