MELA - A play by Michael Halperin - A dramatic true and inspiring story of the Holocaust

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MELA, a one-character play by Michael Halperin inspired by the true story of Mela Roslan , will have a staged reading on Tuesday, October 12, 8 PM at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood prior to its long-term run in Los Angeles starting in January 2005. It stars Edith Fields as Â?MelaÂ? and is directed by Alexandra More.

Mela Roslan and her family undertook the incredible task of rescuing three Jewish brothers from the Warsaw Ghetto starting in 1941. She tells the dramatic and often humorous story of her life leading up to that moment and the emotional events that followed. A girl from a small town falls in love with a charismatic young neighbor and eventually they marry and move to Warsaw just as the Germans invade Poland. The world around them crumbles. Many of their friends are Jewish and they disappear behind Ghetto walls. Circumstances bring one child to them then another and another. They take them in at the peril of their lives and the lives of their own children. Remarkably, the family stays together for four and a half years under the crush of the Nazi occupation and, although Catholic, Mela promises that the rescued children must never forget that they are Jewish.

Michael Halperin first told the story in a screenplay that became the basis for the best-selling children’s book “Jacob’s Rescue” written by Halperin and Malka Drucker and published by Doubleday. The screenplay was written from the point of view of Mela’s husband, Alex. The book related the story from the rescued children’s viewpoint. Halperin felt that Mela’s heroic tale had to be told. She was mother to her own children and to the children given into her care and held the family together while fending off incursions from Polish collaborators, police, and the German Gestapo.

A special command performance of the play was given in Jerusalem in August, 2004 for the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Yad Vashem, the organization dedicated to preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations.

What the audience said: "...poignant and moving... emotions were engaged at every moment..."

A survivor of the Lodz ghetto: "[I} can hardly believe that this sensitive and insightful text was written by an American and not by someone who 'came from there'. "

Produced by Elliott Shoenman. An Inkwell Theater Production

Zephyr Theatre

7458 Melrose Ave.

Hollywood , CA 90046


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