In the exemplary Wilma Theater production (and U.S. premiere) of Tadeusz Slobodzianek’s “Our Class,” a scrim-veiled, eerily illuminated representation of a barn does triple duty. It serves, first of all, as the stage version of the barn where, in 1941, as many as 1,600 Jewish residents of the town of Jedwabne were herded and then immolated by their Polish neighbors. It is also a sort of spirit world where the dead wander, as the living narrate the story of the massacre and its aftermath. Finally, its shape evokes a church, a reminder of the role that Catholic institutions and beliefs played in fostering anti-Semitic atrocities.
Warsaw-based playwright Tadeusz Slobodzianek’s “Our Class,” is about neighbors becomming enemies, and is the most controversial play in contemporary Poland. Now, it debuts in Philadelphia.