Whitefire SOLOFEST “TALKING WITH ANGELS: Budapest, 1943” theatre review.
Duse Studio production brings to Whitefire Theatre’s SoloFest a true story based on Hungarian documents transcribed by Gitta Mallasz, adapted and performed by Shelly Mitchell, “TALKING WITH ANGELS: Budapest, 1943.”
“Talking with Angels” takes place during the Hungarian Nazi-occupation over a perilous 17-month period.
At this time, a small group would meet weekly each Friday afternoon. The group was comprised of four friends: Lili Strauss, Joseph Kreutzer, Hanna Dallos, and main character Gitta Mallasz, who transcribed and narrates the story.
The group, Jewish with the exception of Gitta, were not individually nor collectively religious, making what transpired in their weekly meeting not attributable to any religious sect or belief. Hanna received channeled messages from four distinct personalities who provided counsel and comfort. The group documented their profound shared spiritual experience which is important legacy for those who would follow.
Memories of the holocaust tightly squeeze our soul, wringing it dry, limp and solemn. There are many stories of the genocide of over eleven million people, each unique, each of value. “Talking With Angels” is not a remembrance of the brutality of evil, it is a tribute to the spiritual stamina brought forth so powerfully that, Gitta, a young woman, was able to save the lives of over 100 women and children from death at the hands of the Nazi’s.
Shelly Mitchell’s performance, much like her character Hanna, appears to channel a cast. Shelly compels the audience to travel through dimensions and time. Shelly at once is Hanna, channeling a soft-spoken angel, then with a twist of a wrist, and a gaze manifests as an older, straight-talking Gitta all done with the lightness of steam. Shelly is gracefully everywhere and everyone, voice, body and passion breathe life into the story. Shelly Mitchell is a true master of her craft.
Shelly Mitchell’s adaptation combines messages from the angels with the history of the Holocaust in a manner that is enlightening, drawing parallel to an angel’s message and the choices that drove their paths.
“Talking with Angels” is a must-see for current times. Remember the strength of those who have gone before and the power of the oppressed against tyranny.