Shakespeare Theatre Company | Oct 6-17, 2021
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre| Nov 3-14, 2021
In a tour-de-force, solo performance, Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck, Lincoln, Nomadland) portrays World War II hero and Holocaust witness Jan Karski, a messenger of truth who risked his life to carry his harrowing report from war-torn Poland to the Allied Nations and, ultimately, the Oval Office only to be ignored and disbelieved. Escaping the clutches of the Nazis, bearing witness to the despair of the Warsaw ghetto, and standing tall in the halls of power, Strathairn captures the remarkable life of this self-described “insignificant, little man” whose forgotten story of moral courage and individual responsibility can still shake the conscience of the world.
The theatrical production of Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, written by Clark Young and Derek Goldman and directed by Goldman, was produced by The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University.
Originally conceived as an ensemble production starring Strathairn, the play was first performed in its current form as a solo performance in November 2019 as a featured part of the Centennial Celebration Weekend of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and then in London in January 2020 as part of the 75th Anniversary Commemoration of the Liberation of Auschwitz, in partnership with Human Rights Watch, after which it was invited for performances at leading theaters and festivals around the world. These plans were delayed due to COVID.
Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski will begin its national tour at the Shakespeare Theatre Company on October 7th, 2021.
Strathairn, who has starred in the piece throughout its evolution, says of the production: “I’ve always felt that one of the vital roles, even a responsibility, of the artist/citizen, is to provide palpable, emotive, and relevant insight into the most pressing issues concerning our common humanity. By dramatizing the legacy of Jan Karski, we are striving to do just that.”
A Statement from Director Derek Goldman:
At each turn these past six years, new aspects of Karski’s legacy emerge as urgently relevant. It is gratifying to be now teaching a course on Karski centered around the production and to learn how students today are grappling with and inspired by the lessons of Karski’s life.
As Karski did, we are living through a time characterized by unprecedented challenges. The example of Jan Karski speaks directly to our current moment, and he is an inspiring and timely account of the importance of individual responsibility and moral action in the face of hatred and injustice.
It is our hope that the play offers audiences intimate and enduring access to Karski’s singular life and that, through it, Karski will inspire others to stand for justice and do what is right.