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“Somehow we might be losing our memory,” Klein said about the American knack for always seeking the new and innovative, and forgetting the value of the past. “Our idea — going through the whole century — makes us consider what is memory, what do we want to remember, what do we need to remember and what are things we can let go of.”
Although all her works carry an imprint of her Jewish cultural background, memory, to Klein, is a particularly Jewish concept. Cultural memory has been a key to continuity of the Jewish people for millennia. That’s why Klein hasn’t shied away from depicting images of the Holocaust: a yellow star pinned on an overcoat, corpses piled on wagons, children separated from parents.
While “The Grand Parade” views the 20th century through an American perspective, following the run at Arena Stage, the players of Double Edge will perform their work in Moscow. Klein says that, for the most part, the work should translate easily to a Russian audience. “It is the American sensibility, but Russians know their history,” Klein said.
The work of Chagall, however, might be less familiar. “Chagall is practically unknown in Russia,” Klein said she learned on a trip there in 2009. “If you go to the major museums [in Russia], there’s no Chagall in them.”
Lisa Traiger writes on the performing arts from Rockville, Md.
“The Grand Parade (of the 20th Century)” plays at the Arena Stage from February 6 to February 10.