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Dedication | Marylebone Theatre

A deeply sincere and beautifully displayed evaluation into generational trauma, Roger Peltzman's one man show recounts his family's experiences with the holocaust and the lasting impact that it has had. An effortless talent on the piano, it was when Roger was exhibiting his natural connection to music that his emotions truly poured. Sitting at the piano, playing Chopin, you would think that the music would be the main storyteller.. but it was his face that told you the journey that he had been on.

The simplistic lighting and set design encouraged you to focus on the words that Roger delivered. Although, what really enhanced the retelling of his family's story, was the projected imagery that was used. Seamless transitions ensured that the visuals were not distracting and instead, they were stylistically used for effect. A considered array of photos and quotes were presented throughout on the back screen. Perfectly placed within the dialogue, and with Roger glancing back specifically when the words appeared, it was very touching.

There was seemingly no clear, overarching, transferable message to be conveyed to the audience. Rather, it was a sombre recount of an extremely tragic and personally family journey. Near the beginning, Roger reads from some paper. After a stumble unfolding it and for it only to be a short sentence, it may have been easier to memorise it. Additionally, the second time it was a longer paragraph, but it still did not seem to have a significant impact to be read in this way from paper. If it was highlighted that it was a real handwritten note, or perhaps if Roger read from the projected screen, it would have been a more effective connection between the story and stage direction.

Further, I did identify some gaps in the timeline as Roger progressed from telling how his mother originally fled Belgium to evade the Nazis, to the impact this would later have on him personally, in the form of second generational survivor trauma. Despite nothing majorly being lost from this, I believe it may have been a missed opportunity to add a deeper level of evaluation on his life.

For example, it would have been great to hear a brief synopsis of how his parents met or how Roger came to be born. Surely there would have been some complexities in relation to a Jewish Belgian immigrating to America and marrying a man there. Since this piece of theatre concerns how family history influences a child's experiences, this could have been a potential discussion point. However, I am aware there was a lot of content to cover within this show as it covers approximately eighty years of memories.

'Dedication' is really a dedicated piece showcasing Roger's inspirations and how his life has been shaped by his family. It may be heartbreaking, but it is important for these stories to be told, in honour and to remember those who came before us.

Dedication runs at the Marylebone Theatre until 24th June. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


{PR Invite | Gifted} Written by Carly (@stageychaos)


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