Culture Vulture: The lines that connect �Mazel�

Lines are everywhere. One just has to look. There are physical lines one sees, and there are the implied lines one’s eyes perceive. What do lines have to do with Amy Hartman’s play, �Mazel�?
Lines connect the set, dialogues, costumes, and story together in this play about Holocaust survivor Jack Sittsamer, and his relationship with his daughter, Pearl.


By Mike Diezmos,
Photo Editor
Lines are everywhere. One just has to look. There are physical lines one sees, and there are the implied lines one’s eyes perceive. What do lines have to do with Amy Hartman’s play, �Mazel�?
Lines connect the set, dialogues, costumes, and story together in this play about Holocaust survivor Jack Sittsamer, and his relationship with his daughter, Pearl.
Upon entering Seton Hill University’s (SHU) Reeves Theater on October 6, 2006, opening night, the audience saw a bare kitchen set. The design was grid-like, systematic, and symmetrical. The sink and oven were in the center and beside them were shelves of tar-stained luggage and worn-out shoes behind wire.
�(These) items are the prison of memory that continued to confine the (Holocaust) survivors� (everyday lives),� said Karen A. Glass, scene designer of the Mazel set. A chain reaction is seen in how the survivors� haunting experiences affect their relationship with their family, and the generation to follow.
Act One introduces the audience to four Holocaust survivors whose stories are intertwined with each other. One survivor starts his monologue and another finishes it. This then leads to Pearl’s interaction with Martin, a young man from Germany.
Assistant director of �Mazel,� Allison M. Weakland, writes in the program pamphlet that the �horrors of the past can become the reality of today.� This is the reality for Pearl, who relives her father’s fears. In order for her father to come to terms with his past, he must go to Poland.
In the end of Act Two, Pearl, who is dressed in a brown corduroy jacket with matching pants, is reconciled with Martin, and she is in harmony with her father, who rediscovers his lost youth. Both the male figures in her life are wearing flannel shirts.
��Mazel� does not just tell Sittsamer’s story,� said Sr. Lois Sculco, SHU’s vice president for administration and student life. �It gives some pictures of all the lives of (Holocaust) survivors,� she said.
The Holocaust affects everyone, not just the Jews. �It is our living history,� said Hartman.
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