Review: Janus Korczak, a biography in sound 

****1/2
click to enlarge Janusz Korczak
  • Janusz Korczak

Janus Korczak's story is equal parts inspiring, daunting and tragic. Ronen Chamber Ensemble's stage show devoted of him masterfully blends words with music to illustrate the tenor and mood of major phases in the life and work of renowned pediatrician, child advocate and author, who was murdered at Treblinka death camp in August 1942 with the approximately 200 orphans under his care.

Ronen Co-Artistic Director and ISO cellist Ingrid Fischer-Bellman crafted the script, matching narration cobbled together from biographical information and Korczak's own writings with music by Wieniawski, Chopin, Dvorak, Schumann, Debussy and Penderecki.

Korczack's contributions to pediatrics and literature for children included a novel, 1923's King Matt the First, that was a forerunner to the Harry Potter stories. Korczak said he wrote books for children to understand adults, and books for adults to understand children; King Max thrusts a child into a world of manipulative adults where he has to learn to survive by not only outsmarting, but outwitting them on multiple levels.

Narrators Karianne Stamatoplos and David Strohmeyer read the script, which followed Korczak through his decision to remain director of a Warsaw orphanage during the ascendency of the Nazi regime, forgoing several offers of sanctuary. Vocalist/guitarist Marija Krupoves contributed Polish folk, Yiddush lullabies and Ghetto songs of children. April 22 at the Cultural Arts Center at Hasten Hebrew Academy.

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