By DON FOWLER
Cranston author and college professor Kevin Olson has planned a staged reading of a new play, “And Then What? The Children of Velvela and Sheima Ortel Auerbakh” at AS220, Providence’s 95 Empire Street Black Box Theatre on July 13 and 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 16 at 2 p.m. A discussion will follow the reading.
Olson, who teaches at CCRI, URI and New England Tech, is the artistic director of Providence’s First Hand Theatrical. He has collaborated with Bena Shklanoy to create the original play. First Hand Theatrical’s goal is to create original pieces drawing from diverse cultural and social histories.
The play chronicles the true life stories of Soviet Jewish émigré Bena Shklanoy’s family from pogroms through the Bolshevik Revolution, the two world wars, Krushev’s “Thaws” and up to the Save Soviet Jewry movement of the ’70s. Drawn from family and social history, the play was researched and written by Ms. Shklanoy who emigrated from the Soviet Union with her husband and two daughters in 1976, over the past 11 years, covering 152 years of historical data.
Kevin’s wife, Amy, who is in the production, was born and brought up in Cranston, sister of CCRI Theatre guru Bert Silverberg. Amy is the executive director of Hillel at URI. Cranstonians Steve Pennel and Shanna Wells are also part of the staged reading.
Olson premiered his staged reading “This is My Story” at Cranston’s Artist Exchange in 2015. For tickets ($10 donation), call 400-2715, or go online at firstname.lastname@example.org.