May 5th, 2018
A Staged Reading with Music and Beyond
Ursula & Our Conversations, The Nazi Era
Our 2018 production was wildly successful, so by popular demand, we are coming back for 2019. The original cast will have additional actors and musicians.
Stay tuned for updates: who, when, and where!
Ursula and Our Conversations traverses the rocky landscape of Ursula’s early
Chaitania Hein, is a performance artist, therapist, and teacher. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology, with a concentration in propaganda and brainwashing, and its effect on society and individuals. Her Bachelor degree is in Depth Psychology and Art as a Way to Heal. Chaitania, a remarkable artist, started her career in dance at age 14 in the New Orleans Opera Ballet Company, performed on Broadway, and ran her own Theater Companies: Dance Impulse and Shakespeare for Children. She was on the Dance faculty of Cornish College of the Arts, became Academic Dean and faculty member at WuHsing Tao School, teaching psychology. As a therapist, she finds enormous satisfaction helping people find their way. Chaitania Hein is an inspiration to her students, clients, and audiences.
On May 5, 2018, at the Taproot’s, Isaac Studio Theatre, Ursula and Our Conversations, The Nazi Era was first produced as a staged reading adapted from a screenplay.
I started this process as a young woman who became curious about my husband’s family history. Ursula and I were in conversation for over twenty years, and at a certain point, Ursula asked me to tell her story to the world. My task seemed such a responsibility with the challenge to be sensitive to everyone affected by this horrific time in history.
One last thought pertains to the cast. These actors are not only talented but were drawn to the work due to their humanitarian natures. What an honor to know them and have themon this journey with me.
The Core Actors from the May 5, 2018 productions reflections-
Jeanne Snyder – Jeanne is a recently retired Marriage & Family Therapist. “Conversations with Ursula” is an exciting, engaging project to be participating in. Though a novice with acting, my work as a therapist has prepared me well to interpret emotions on many levels. I so appreciate the more experienced, talented cast who have supported my learning to help create this powerful production.
Chaitania Hein – I have enjoyed the process of producing a staged reading immensely. I look forward to working with this cast on future productions.
Marjon McDermott – The experience of inhabiting a character that was brainwashed tobelieve her participation in the Nazi regime was merelypatriotic and exemplary citizenry was mind altering… The distortionof truth and the subsequent mind set has always been part of humanity. However, to examine one’s beliefs, acknowledge grave errors, and seek not forgiveness, but an understanding of how those beliefs could even take hold, takes enormous courage. Personally, I hope to be a better watchdog of my own deeply held convictions going forward.
Carla Ginnis –I am the semi-official researcher for this effort & also have a love for and experience as script writer/adapter & actor in enhanced Readers’ Theatre, the theatrical medium of Ursula’s and Our Conversations.
As both a librarian and serious history buff, I was immediately drawn both to Ursula as a multi-faceted individual and focusing on an accurate representation of her time in history, specifically German history. So, when Chaitania started, several years ago, requesting me to dig into the what’s, where’s, and whys of the situations Ursula found herself in, I jumped in eagerly. I’ve always been interested in the effects of the attitudinal, social, political, and cultural changes that developed between 1885-1960 across Europe and America -and, as a post-World War II American Jew, I’ve tried to keep a broader perspective about European-Jewish relations. Even though, due to the Nazis, I no longer have any family in Europe.
Iman Hein – As a regular member of
Dirk Hein – Recounting the details of my mother’s life as I witnessed Chaitania write this piece over years and now produce it as a staged reading, evoked for me intense feelings and emotions, ranging from anxiety and avoidance, to inspiration, to being on a mission to influence current events.
However, bringing awareness of the impact of betrayal through propaganda (fake news) and the subsequent lifelong suffering from collective guilt and shame (what my mother always called her “bad nerves”) and the struggle to overcome such indoctrination, i.e. “brainwashing,” at a time when its danger is becoming imminent again, motivated me to be part of bringing her story alive on stage.
Karina Choe – I am sincerely grateful to be involved in this phenomenal production. The journey to work with our talented and devoted cast has brought fulfillment and peace to my musical soul. I congratulate each of you for sharing your artistry in acting. And a big thank you to the audience for your love and support.
Here are a few comments and feedback from the production
A survey was give to the audience to fill out after the performance, asking to please put their reflection, experience, and what they want to see more of or not.
“Didn’t expect a staged reading to be so smooth, like a dance with words and music.”
“I wanted to know even more about Ursula’s story.”
“I never thought about the stories of the women from the other side.”
“I couldn’t stay for the reception because I couldn’t stop crying.”
“I’m so glad I came. It was amazing.”
“My family had to escape my home country of Germany as a Jew. Now, I’m fearful, I may need to flee my second home country of America from this regime in power.’
“I’ve been to many play readings in New York, but this was something else.”
“The story is so compelling.”