Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s Our Class: A Timeless Tale of Friendship, Betrayal, and Resilience
Our Class, the contemporary, award-winning play by Tadeusz Slobodzianek and directed by Ukrainian-born, Jewish director Igor Golyak will see a completely new production and its New York premiere at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) beginning January 12 with opening night set for January 18 and running to February 4.
Our Class has now been added to the 19th edition of NYC’s world famous and cutting-edge Under the Radar Festival, which takes place January 5 to January 21 with more than a dozen productions at renowned institutions across the city.
“Our Class is an incendiary work, no one leaves unmoved,” said Mark Russell, Under the Radar Festival Director. “Igor Golyak is one of the most innovative and visual young directors working today. His work has to be seen.”
Our Class is based on real events, and follows 10 classmates — five Jewish and five Catholic — as they grow up as playmates, friends and neighbors, then turn on one another with life and death consequences. Inspired by real life events surrounding a horrific 1941 pogrom in the small village of Jedwabne, Poland, the play is about friendship, antisemitism and betrayal, and follows their lives from childhood through eight decades in a contemporary new production, directed by Igor Golyak.
The international cast of Our Class features Gus Birney (The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window) as Dora, Andrey Burkovskiy (Call DiCaprio!) as Menachem, Jack DiFalco (Torch Song) as Zygmunt, José Espinosa (Take Me Out) as Rysiek, Tess Goldwyn (New Amsterdam) as Zocha, Will Manning (As Reaper in the Summer Gain) as Heniek, Stephen Ochsner (Chicks) as Jakub Katz, Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof) as Rachelka/Marianna, Richard Topol (Indecent; The Normal Heart) as Abram, and Ilia Volok (Gemini Man, The Gaaga) as Władek.
At the beginning of November, the cast and creative team gathered for a special retreat in the
Berkshires mountains of Massachusetts. They worked on the script, delved into history and context with dramaturg Dr. Rachel Moss, experimented with music with composer Anna Drubich, and discussed the powerful connections between Our Class and our world and lives today. The entire weekend was documented on video – watch a short piece featuring Richard Topol, Alexandra Silber, Andrey Burkovskiy, Stephen Ochsner, and Igor Golyak as they prepare for the rehearsal process.
The piece comes at a time when the world is facing an increase in antisemitism across the globe and is witnessing horrific wars in Ukraine and Israel. Our Class is an exploration of humanity, an effort to comprehend who we are. What would we do, and what will we do, in this situation? Who do we become in the face of past and current aggression?
“I wish Our Class wasn’t so relevant; unfortunately, the story is a bonfire that is alive and burning in our world right now,” said Igor Golyak. “This is more than just a play for all of us. We are trying to understand how ordinary young people – friends – can be capable of so much love, heartbreak and humor, and then do such horrific things to each other out of hatred. The play is a masterpiece because its truths are inescapable and illuminate something about the complexity of who we are, how we might heal or at least try to navigate this world with some meaning. I am beyond humbled that Under the Radar agrees, and has invited us to share Our Class in their fantastic festival this January.”
Tickets are on sale now on the official website, and run $59-$129. Our Class plays Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays at 7:00pm, Thursdays at 7:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2pm.
Directed by Igor Golyak
Written by Tadeusz Słobodzianek
Adapted by Norman Allen
Scenic Design by Jan Pappelbaum
Costume Design by Sasha Ageeva
Lighting Design by Adam Silverman
Sound Design by Ben Williams
Music Composed by Anna Drubich
Music Direction by Lisa Gutkin
Projections Design by Eric Dunlap
Chalk Drawings Design by Andreea Mincic
Choreography by Or Schraiber
Hair & Makeup Design by Timur Sadykov
Intimacy & Violence Design by Leana Gardella
Dramaturgy by Dr. Rachel Moss
General Manager, Martin Platt
Production Manager, Neal Wilkinson
Production Stage Manager, Kyra Bowie
Executive Producers, Sofia Kapkova & Sara Stackhouse
For more information visit: www.ourclassplay.com