Heaven and Earth

First produced by Theater for the New City, New York, 1999

Directed by Barbara Kahn

Nora Cole………………….……………………Andi Hogan
Rachel Bronstein…………………….………....Jolie Dechev
Samantha "Simi" Lasser..…………….…Jackie S. Freeman
Laurel……………………..…………...Lacie Katrina Pulido

Asst. director/stage manager……….Lisa Marjorie Barnes
Set and lighting design.…….…………..Todd M. Reemtsma
Costume design………………………..……..Andy Wallach
Flyer/program design…..……...Virginia Asman, Illuminage
Voiceovers…..………………..………………….Bob Quinn

 

Excerpt I:
Simi and Rachel's home and photo studio in
Shoshoni, Wyoming. 1937.

Rachel and Nora.

Rachel:

I'm a woman, too. It would be good for you to teach me.heaven - program.jpg (82117 bytes) There are not so many women pilots...

Nora:
Look, Rachel, it's tough up there. You get dirty, sometimes sick if the flight is rocky...Most of the planes we get to fly are old or not serviced properly...They smell of hot oil and old vomit... Airports are not where they're supposed to be because the maps we have are outdated...

Rachel:
(Oblivious to the argument) I will pay you. I don't have a lot of money, but I will get the money. I want to fly.

Nora:
(Persistent and becoming agitated) Flying is dangerous. Pilots get hurt. They get lost. Sometimes they die. Some of them are your friends. (pause) They only let women fly light planes, and they're the most dangerous. They can't take the turbulence as well, they can't fly high enough when the weather turns. I'm not waiting for my luck to run out. This project I'm here for is my last before desk duty.

Rachel:
There is tea. I will make you some tea, and then we will talk some more about my flying.

    
heaven01.jpg (12727 bytes)   [Nora takes small packet from her pants pocket.]

Nora
:
(Throwing packet at Rachel) Here. Catch.

Rachel:

What is this?

Nora:

It's lesson number one. Chewing gum. Get used to chewing.
Rachel:

I don't understand.

Nora:
When you're up there, and you hit some cross winds, and your stomach is doing loops even when the plane isn't, you'd better be chewing or you'll find your lunch in your lap.

Rachel:

Don't worry. I don't get sick like that. I been on a boat, a ship. Everyone else was hanging over the railing, but not me. My stomach is strong like iron. You'll see.

Nora:

I guess I will.

Rachel:

But I'll chew this anyway. If that's what the pilots do, then Iheaven02.jpg (11625 bytes) want to do this, too.

Excerpt II.Simi and Rachel's home and photo studio,
Shoshoni, Wyoming. 1937.


Rachel and Simi

        Rachel is on the couch, reading the newspaper. She is chewing gum. Simi is rearranging the photo settings.

Rachel:

(Reading the paper) Listen to this, Simi. Charles Boyer, whose pictures have been banned by Goebbels, is rumored to be non-Aryan. He admits to only fifty percent, but an informant claims both his parents were French Jews.

Simi:
I don't care about the movie stars. What else does the paper say?

Rachel:
Germany and Poland changed their minds. They apologize and beg forgiveness from the Jews.

Simi:
What does it really say?

Rachel:

A lot of Jews in Denver got married...

Simi
:
There is going to be a meeting soon in Denver about helping refugees. Is it in the paper?
heaven03.jpg (11799 bytes)Rachel:
I don't see it.

Simi:

Joan Perlmutter from Cheyenne is going to speak at the meeting. She has been in Amsterdam and Vienna working with German refugees.

Rachel:
It's not in the paper. How do you know about it?

Simi:

From the Hadassah meeting last time. I told you.

Rachel:
Maybe you did. I don't remember. (still browsing paper) It says here that Eddie Cantor has a foundation to help Jewish refugee children settle in Palestine. We can send a little money. Next week when I am working in Thermopolis, I'm going to ask the people from Hollywood if anyone knows Mr. Charles Boyer.

Simi:
Maybe you should ask instead if they will let you say a whole line in the movie this time.

Rachel:

So, I will ask. It can't hurt. When you find out about the meeting in Denver, we will both go. I will fly you there in an airplane.

Simi:

First things first. You didn't learn yet. I am very happy to drive to Laramie and take the train from there.


Excerpt III: Simi and Rachel's home and photo studio, Shoshoni, Wyoming. 1937.
heaven04.jpg (13465 bytes)
Simi and Rachel

Simi:

I am going to go back to Europe.

Rachel:

Why would you do that? All the Jews are trying to come here.

Simi:
That's why I need to go.

Rachel:
(becoming alarmed) How long have you been planning this?

Simi:
For awhile.

Rachel:
Why are you telling me now?

Simi:
Because we need to be ready. I made application for a passport, and Hadassah will make the travel arrangements as soon as I get it.

Rachel:
I don't understand this. It's crazy.

Simi:
I think maybe you don't want to understand. When you came to America, you were not a refugee. Your grandmother bought you your ticket second class, not steerage. She went to Frankfort with you, put you on the train to Bremen...

Rachel:

What was wrong with that?

Simi: Nothing was wrong with that.You were very lucky. But there are thousands like me in Germany in  terrible danger.

Rachel:
(angry) What can you do? Talk to Hitler? I don't think he will want to talk with you.

Simi:
Rachel...

Rachel:
You are not Moses. They will not let you in Germany. This is crazy.

Simi:
They will let me in. I am a photographer. I will have a press card, to take pictures for the newspaper.

Rachel:
What will you take pictures of? People in Germany are doing nothing to stop the madness. What can you do all alone? You are one person.
heaven05.jpg (16016 bytes)
Simi:
I can go there and photograph the people doing nothing.

Rachel:
You are not going. It's settled.

Simi:
Nothing is settled...Don't turn away from me.

Rachel:
We have no one else, only each other. It was always enough for me.

Simi:
And for me, the same...

Rachel:
(Distraught) It's not the same for you.

Simi:
You know how much I love you.

Rachel:
Then let others go. You have been through enough in yourheaven06.jpg (10251 bytes) life. Why can't you accept our happiness and our freedom?

Simi:
Our freedom is not secure. Every time someone in Europe kills a Jew, there is an American who thinks that maybe it's not such a bad idea over here.

Rachel:
This is not Europe.

Simi:
You know better than that. As much as you don't like to listen, you have heard the radio, too. (goes to Rachel on the couch) I will write to you.

Rachel:

So I can start my own box of letters? I don't need letters. I need you.

Simi:
I can't stay here and do nothing.

Rachel:
What we have is not nothing.

Simi:
I didn't say that it is. You are twisting my words because you are angry.

Rachel:
I can't believe you are doing this. (turns away)

Simi:
I'm sorry to make you so unhappy. I'm truly sorry.

Rachel:
Please, Simi, they are beating and murdering Jews over there. I'm afraid.

Simi:
So am I, Rachel. So am I.


Excerpt IV:
The office of a small airport near York,
Pennsylvania. 1938.

Laurel (14 years old) and Simi
       
    Simi tries to get comfortable again to go back to her nap.
heaven09.jpg (10330 bytes)

Laurel:

Will you show me how to take pictures?

Simi:
No.

Laurel:
Why not?

Simi:
Because I am not a teacher. I'm a very tired person who has been traveling for three days. I would like to finish my nap.

Laurel:
Where are you coming from?

Simi:
From far away.

Laurel:
Why can't you tell me?

Simi:
(Sitting up) From Spain and London and New York.

Laurel
(Sits next to Simi) Wow! You been to all those foreign places?

Simi:
I've been there.

Laurel:
What do you do in them places?

Simi:
I take pictures.

Laurel:
So why can't you take my picture?

Simi:
I only take pictures of soldiers. Foreign soldiers.

Laurel:
Can I see some?

Simi:
No.

Laurel:
Why not?

Simi:
I don't have any with me.

Laurel:
I want to see them... Are they all colored?

Simi:
No

Laurel:
Foreigners are all like colored people. I'm glad you're not a foreigner anymore. My Daddy says the foreigners spoil America.

heaven10.jpg (12055 bytes)Simi:
Oh.

Laurel:
He says they all want to come here and take what real Americans have away from them.

Simi:

So what do you have that you think the foreigners want so badly?

Laurel:
I don't know. I don't have a lot of things. Were you a red Jew before you became an American?

Simi:
(Bewildered) What are you talking about?

Laurel:
The reds are foreigners who want to take over America and make everyone red. They're all Jews. My Daddy said.

Simi:
Do you know any Jews?

Laurel:
(Giggles) No. They all live in the cities and run the banks, and they don't ever eat. Never. They suck blood.

[Simi is at a loss for how to deal with Laurel. She gets up, goes to door, and indicates that Laurel should leave.]

Simi:

I'm very tired. I'm going to finish my nap. You go along now.

bar-curvy.gif (1922 bytes)

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