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A New Play about Race + Immigration
Written + Performed by Ariel Luckey

Directed by Susannah Martin
Original Score by Lila Sklar
Dramaturgy by Corey Fischer

Photos by Pak Han

Presented by La Pena Cultural Center
May 15-18, 2014

Amnesia was commissioned by La Peña Cultural Center with support from The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s 2012 Playwright Commissioning Award, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s 2013 Visibility Award and the Zellerbach Family Foundation’s 2014 Community Arts Fund.

“Ariel ignites Amnesia with riveting stories of immigration and memory, drawing connections that span generations and crisscross borders. A gripping, exciting play not to be missed…”
— Jeff Chang, Author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Director of Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University

Preview article from JWeekly.

Preview article from 3200 Stories.

More info at:

From the Dramaturge
I met Ariel Luckey a few days before Traveling Jewish Theatre, the company I co-founded in 1978, closed. He told me about the theatre piece he was about to start developing and asked if I’d help him dramaturgically. The Baal Shem Tov, the semi-legendary 17th century Jewish mystic is reported to have said as he died, “We go out one door to come in through another.” As the doors finally closed on TJT, Ariel’s invitation opened another one for me. It’s been deeply satisfying to follow, and, at times, to guide Ariel on a journey of discovery that took him to the Ukraine, Belarus, New York, Los Angeles, Arizona, the Sonoran Desert, to the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries and into his own expansive imagination. And, it’s been a great delight to see him transform what he found into music, movement, story – into theatre that invites us all to expand our sense of “us” and “them.”

Immigration is a central fact of the American Jewish experience. But it’s also a central fact of the American experience and, really, isn’t it a defining fact of human experience itself? Those of us who are only two or three generations removed from the literal act of immigration to America retain, perhaps, a keener sense of being shaped by it and are more able to make an empathic connection to today’s immigrants. Or not. All immigrants feel varying degrees of pressure to assimilate and with assimilation comes amnesia.

Amnesia is an act of radical remembering. Radical as in root. Remembering as in rejoining, reconnecting what has been falsely separated. Ariel’s story, like all stories worth telling, is an antidote to amnesia.

— Corey Fischer, Dramaturge

Lila Sklar / violin, vocals, mandolin
Dan Cantrell / accordion
eO / sound design + trumpet
Jessica Ivry / cello
Valentino / percussion

Costume Design / Christine Crook
Dialect Coach / Rebecca Castelli
Graphic Designer / Rich Black
Lighting Design / Wolfgang Lancelot Wachalovsky
Scenic Painter + Fine Art Painter / Meeka Schmalle
Set Design / Steve Decker
Sound Designer / Peva Pardel
Stage Manager + Technical Director / Cory Sands
Voiceovers / Caitlyn Louchard + Daniel Petzold