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About the Play

This play had an unusually long gestation period. The story first came to me in 2010, but, as I first conceived it, there were technical challenges which prevented it from making the leap from a story in my head to a play on the page. I placed the idea on the back burner and moved on to my next project. In the meantime I did a fair amount of research on the Holocaust and World War II. Every so often I would come back to the story idea, but I could never quite see how to address the problems inherent in it. There is a wide gap between a premise and a script, and most premises are never able to bridge that gap. Trying to force the issue almost invariably results in inferior work. Thus, although I never completely wrote the project off, I had given up hope of ever completing it.

Then one night in 2017, as I was reading in bed, I experienced an Archimedean moment and, springing up, much to the chagrin of my cat, bounded into my office shouting, "Eureka!" I jotted down the outline which had popped into my head and, within a few days, had a completed draft which, subsequently, required only minor edits. That summer I presented a reading of the piece, entitled Passing, at the Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival. Its four scenes only ran for about 35 minutes, so I paired it on a double bill with another piece of similar length, a companion to Beckett's Waiting for Godot, entitled Waiting.

Passing was very well received, but due to its length there was not much I could do with it. So I stuck it on a shelf and turned my attention to my next project, a comedy questioning the existence of God, entitled A Theist. My plan was to bring A Theist to the 2018 Capital Fringe Festival, and I set those gears into motion. Then, in March of 2018 I had to undergo quintuple bypass surgery. I pulled out of the Fringe and set my sights on the summer of 2019, essentially postponing my plans by a whole year. In October of 2018 the Tree of Life shootings in Pittsburgh took place. Suddenly, I felt compelled to bring Passing to the stage.

I wrote a fifth scene, which brought the story from 1945 through 1988 and into the present day. And that is the play you're about to see.

We live in a world in which, for the first time since the Holocaust, the probability of a second Holocaust strays further from zero with each passing day. The time for remembrances is now.

Special Thanks

Thanks, as always, to my family: Mom, Dad, Richard, George, Madeline, and Jacqueline. Thanks also to my talented cast, Cristen and Margaret, whose patience, hard work, suggestions, and insight cannot be sufficiently praised; it is hard to imagine a cast which would be more of a joy to work with. A very special thanks goes out to Stephanie Zambrano, our inimitable director and narrator, and the glue which held this project together from rehearsals, to the Capital Fringe, to the Page-to-Stage; this play would not exist without her hard work, patience, and support. All my thanks also to: the very  talented Hannah Halpern, for her striking artwork; The Shapiros (Jon, Jackie, Maddy, and Molly); Gaby de Luna; Deana Kussman and Steve Quan; Andre Hicks; Wendi Wertheimer Evans; everyone at The Playwrights' Collaborative; and all of the incredibly talented and dedicated teachers I worked with last year!


For those who feel inclined to help fight anti-semitism and all forms of bigotry, and help move us closer to a more just society, please consider making donations to one or more of the following charitable organizations:


Also be sure to support the independent arts as you are able!

The Company

The Indian Ocean Theatre Company was founded in 2008 when playwright John Sowalsky concluded that the easiest way to get his work onto the stage would be to produce it himself. Since that time IOTC has brought five productions to the Capital Fringe Festival, has participated in the Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival annually since 2012, has participated in staged readings held by Playwrights' Collaborative and elsewhere, and has provided assistance to a number of other independent productions. The Indian Ocean Theatre Company is devoted to bringing new works to the DC-Metro stage utilizing the best emerging talent the region has to offer. We place a premium on artistic excellence, production values, and attention to detail, in an effort to provide a springboard for those who aspire to the professional stage.

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