Mrs. Feuerstein

This cathartic examination of one woman's obsession with the Holocaust completes the trio of Murray Mednick legit works produced by the 2001 Padua Hills Playwrights Festival/Workshop, which had been dormant since 1995.

Mrs. Feuerstein - Maria O'Brien Max Wohl - Christopher Allport Freida Wohl - Lynnda Ferguson Dr. Samuelson - Louis R. Plante Dr. Baum - Drago Sumonja Jane Young - Gwendoline Yeo

This cathartic examination of one woman’s obsession with the Holocaust completes the trio of Murray Mednick legit works produced by the 2001 Padua Hills Playwrights Festival/Workshop, which had been dormant since 1995. Following the impressive debuts of “16 Routines” (May 5) and “Joe and Betty” (June 2), Mednick has wrought a devastatingly powerful journey through the inner workings of the psyche of Holocaust survivor Mrs. Feuerstein (Maria O’Brien), a revenge-driven creative writing teacher who becomes fixated on German-born fellow teacher Max (Christopher Allport) and his wife Freida (Lynnda Ferguson).

Mednick has created a riveting theatrical device to dissect the layers of emotional traumas and painful social adjustments this woman has endured in order to survive. He segues between Feuerstein’s fear-ridden struggles to be successful at an upscale private prep school and her fantasy play-within-a-play about wreaking ultimate vengeance on her German colleague and his wife whom she has cast as Nazi villains.

Forming a seamless synergistic bond with the playwright are O’Brien (daughter of Academy Award-winner Edmond O’Brien and actress/singer Olga San Juan) and director Roxanne Rogers.

O’Brien’s Feuerstein is an awe-inspiring study of tangible raw emotion that constantly contorts the surface of her countenance. Her interactions with Max, Frieda, her confused therapist Jane (Gwendoline Yeo) and youthful but empathetic school psychologist Dr. Baum (Drago Sumonja), reveal every aspect of her being. Her emotional needs and deep-seated abhorrent memories are so strong they thrust themselves immediately at anyone who comes close to her. It is fascinating to watch her navigate between the nervous twitchings of Feuerstein’s real life dilemmas and her hate-driven, erotic fantasies about sexually dominating an ever more willing Freida, balanced by her intermittent retreats into an internal emotional safe haven whenever she refers to Anna, an unseen adolescent student of hers who is wreaking havoc on Mrs. Feuerstein’s confidence as a teacher.

Rogers admirably balances all the stimuli that are bombarding Feuerstein’s soul into a powerful narrative. Rogers perfectly offsets Feuerstein’s absurd attempts to fit in at the school with the fantasy scenes that build to a fascinating climax of complete domination by an unforgiving Feuerstein and utter submission by Freida, who is driven to expiate the sins of the past.

Ferguson offers an impressive portrayal as the blond, imperious woman of the Third Reich who finds herself completely enveloped and seduced by the power of Feuerstein’s hate. Allport (“Jack Frost,” “Jack Frost #2”) is quite effective in his duo personas as the soft-spoken, German-accented teacher who truly wants to help Feuerstein and the fantasy Max, the unrepentant former SS execution squad murderer of Polish Jews. Sumonja is quite endearing as Dr. Baum, who is more in tune with Feuerstein than she will ever allow herself to know.

Yeo performs admirably as Young, the well-meaning but over-her-head therapist who cannot begin to cope with the depths of Feuerstein’s angst. Not faring as well is Louis R. Plante, who never seems at ease in the role of Young’s superior Dr. Samuelson.

The production is aided immensely by the evocative original music of O-Lan Jones, the impressionistic setting of Jeffrey Atherton and mood-enhancing lighting of Rand Ryan.

Mrs. Feuerstein

2100 Square Feet, Padua Hills; 65 seats; $20 top

Production: Padua Playwrights Prods. presents a play in two acts by Murray Mednick. Directed by Roxanne Rogers. Producer, Guy Zimmerman.

Creative: Sets, Jeffrey Atherton; lighting, Rand Ryan; costumes, Bridget Phillips; original music and sound, O-Lan Jones. Opened July 28, 2001; reviewed July 29; runs through Aug. 25. Running time: 2 HOURS, 15 MIN.

Cast: Mrs. Feuerstein - Maria O'Brien Max Wohl - Christopher Allport Freida Wohl - Lynnda Ferguson Dr. Samuelson - Louis R. Plante Dr. Baum - Drago Sumonja Jane Young - Gwendoline Yeo

More Legit

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]


    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

  • Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac to Star in Anton Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' Adaptation

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac are taking on an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” for New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan. The company announced on Tuesday that they will feature two final performances to round out the 2019 to 2020 season, including the Chekhov play. “Three Sisters” will be directed by Tony award-winning Sam [...]

  • montreal just for laughs Comedy Festival

    Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival Is the 'Coachella of Comedy'

    Every summer, Montreal becomes the epicenter of the comedy world as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival takes over the Canadian city. Now in its 37th year, the mindboggling scale of the festival is there in the numbers: more than 1,600 artists from across the globe (speaking English, French and other languages) performing 250 shows [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content