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Children’s author to deliver readers theatre at Stephens Center

Posted April 11, 2008

Through the generosity of the Connie Smith Bowen Arts Series, Idaho State University’s Theatre and Dance department will bring in author Marisabina Russo, who will present her drama, “Always Remember Me,” in a readers theatre production at 7:30 p.m. April 21 at the James E. and Beverly Rogers Blackbox Theatre in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center.

“Always Remember Me” is a story within a story. It begins with a woman named Oma sharing her family history with her young granddaughter, Rachel.  As the two look through two photo albums, Rachel gets to visually experience her grandmother’s life in Poland and Germany. The photos contain pictures that evoke happy memories of her childhood, her marriage and her motherhood. As the book continues, pictures in it evoke sad memories of what happened when the Nazis took control of Germany. Fortunately, Oma and two of her daughters survive incarceration in a concentration camp. The second photo album contains pictures of the family once they move to America and are in the process of starting their new lives.

In addition to being a great introduction to the Holocaust for children it is also a celebration of family. “Always Remember Me” stresses how important it is to pass down family stories and keepsakes.  For its success, the book received a 2005 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor in the non-fiction category. These honors are given to books that are designed to entertain and help children develop universally ethical attitudes, and rigorous standards and skills. 

Russo is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. She has written and illustrated more than 20 books for children and young adults. Her most notable books include “The Line Up Book” and “Always Remember Me,” which have received awards.

For this project, Russo is allowing the adaptation of her book into a readers theatre. She will be working with the cast and director prior to the performances.

Elementary and junior high students will be attending in the afternoon before the free public viewing in the evening. It will be followed by a question-and-answer period with the author of the book and the cast members of the readers theatre.

The production stars Natalie Keezer, Angeline Underwood, Angel Palmer, Tracy Mull and Abby Keifner. The readers theatre is directed by Sherri Dienstfrey and technical work has been done by Nick Smith.