Saturday, August 14, 2010

Papa's World's a Stage

Papa's quiet strength and generous spirit, so readily apparent in the pages of his diary and letters, has inspired my wife, Stephanie, to include a character who is very much like him in her one-woman show, "Feed the Monster."

A good chunk of "Feed the Monster" takes place in 1940's Brighton Beach, where Stephanie's character grew up and, of course, where Papa lived with my grandmother and later raised my mother. Stephanie's character deliberately has Papa's last name (Scheuermann) and quite accidentally shares my mother's Hebrew first name (Tsipporah, or Tsippy for short). "Papa", as Tsippy's father is known in the show, has a lot in common with Papa, most notably the way his outwardly ordinary, nearly anonymous existence belies the influence and inspiration he brought to the lives of others.

If you're in New York tonight I hope you'll come see the show's opening, of course (excuse the plug; I'm incredibly proud of Stephanie for putting her show together and making it to the Fringe Festival). If you don't get to see it, I hope you'll think again about Papa's Diary Project and one of the most enduring lessons it taught me: even a seemingly typical, quiet and anonymous life can, if we take the time to record and remember it, reveal itself to be remarkable, dramatic and significant, full of stories worth telling over and over again in many ways, on many stages.

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