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REMNANTS is based on forty years of the playwright's conversations with Holocaust survivors. Forty-five minutes in length, the piece is stark and minimalist, each segment recreating moments in which survivors reflect not only on the destruction but also on their lives in the aftermath. Typically, performances of the play are followed by a discussion between playwright and audience. Thus, a presentation of REMNANTS lasts from one hour to ninety minutes.


REMNANTS is not "survivor testimony." Rather, it recreates moments from long acquaintance in which survivors struck on an image or anecdote—often to their own surprise–which seemed to "nail it." The dramatic action is the process of retelling itself: survivors' finding such images, their strategic deployment, and the relationship that each survivor works to establish with the audience.  


REMNANTS was first produced for radio in 1991 and distributed to NPR stations across the United States. As a stage play, REMNANTS has been presented at more than three hundred venues throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as in Britain, Israel, and the Czech Republic. The play has been a winner of the Henrico National Competition, the Attic Theater Center New Plays Festival (Los Angeles), the New Hope Performing Arts Festival, the National Script Competition of the Midwest Radio Theatre Workshop, and the Michigan Public Broadcasting Focus Award. Recent presentations have included performances at the John Houseman Theater (New York), the British Library (London), the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC), and the Magdeburg attic theatre in the former Theresienstadt concentration camp--a space used for performances during the Holocaust itself.  


Since 1997, Greenspan has performed REMNANTS as a one-person show at venues around the world.  Portions of REMNANTS have also been performed by others, including Tony nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Tovah Feldshuh as a one-woman show.



Response to REMNANTS:


“An incredibly moving work, stark and haunting--an example of Public Radio at its best.” --Michigan Public Broadcasting


“REMNANTS is as memorable and moving as other major Holocaust works. The play is renowned.” --The Detroit Jewish News


“I read a lot of plays. I don’t know another one like REMNANTS. It is exactly what it should be. It is exactly right.” --Ellen Schiff, editor of Classic Plays of the American Jewish Repertoire


“REMNANTS says more about the Holocaust in fewer words than just about anything I know. Its lean, minimalist format is powerfully affecting. This is Holocaust theatre at its best--a work that carries authenticity in every one of its taut, spare words.” --Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Emeritus Chair, Academic Committee, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


“An understated, concentrated, starkly dramatic play. REMNANTS avoids the dogmatic and the sentimental and leaves interpretation up to the cast and response up to the audience.” --Lawrence Langer, Professor Emeritus, Simmons College


"Decades ago, Greenspan began listening closely to Holocaust survivors, not one-time testimony but conversations often sustained over years. In REMNANTS, Greenspan recreates these dialogues, capturing the most powerful exchanges. Remnants is a brilliant performance. It has stayed with me since I first experienced the play more than twenty years ago."--Wendy Lower, Current Chair, Academic Committee, United States Holocaust Memorial Center


REMNANTS could only have been written by a playwright who is also a distinguished Holocaust scholar.  Based on his meeting with the same survivors multiple times over months, years, even decades, the play reconstructs extraordinary moments from those conversations that challenge much that we think we know about survivors and what they have to retell.   We meet them as though for the first time.--Alexandra Garbarini, Professor of History, Williams College, Academic Committee, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


“REMNANTS succeeds in ways I had thought out of the reach of any kind of dramatization, and it does so with great integrity as well as passion.” --Michael Andre Bernstein, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley


"Of the countless attempts to represent the Holocaust, REMNANTS stands out as a uniquely succinct and piercing glimpse into the immeasureable horror of genocide. This play has more to tell us than many learned volumes about the shame we should all feel for crimes committed against the very idea of a shared humanity." --Omer Bartov, Birkelund Distinguished Professor of History, Brown University


"REMNANTS combines history and scholarship, art and drama, to inform our understanding of the Holocaust in ways that are as moving and poignant as they are challenging and surprising. Penetrating, gripping, masterful--those are only a few of the words that this distinctive work deserves." --John K. Roth, Edward Sexton Professor of Philosophy and Director, The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, Claremont McKenna College


"Caught between initial disinterest and subsequent exalted expectation, survivors struggle to give voice to searing personal memories that provide no comfort, resolution, or redeeming edification. REMNANTS sensitively captures a kaleidoscope of survivor voices that are both evocative and painful."--Christopher R. Browning, Emeritus Professor of History, University of North Carolina


Recent Performances of REMNANTS: 

John Houseman Theater, New York

Attic Theater Center of Los Angeles

Playwrights Center of San Francisco

Marsh Theatre, San Francisco

Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke

New Hope Performing Arts Festival

Playwrights Studio Theatre, Milwaukee

Pendragon Theater, Saranac Lake, NY

Jewish Theatre-Grand Rapids

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

World Conference of Jewish Communal Service, Jerusalem

Theresienstadt Memorial, Czech Republic

The British Library, London

City of Vancouver Holocaust Remembrance

City of Victoria Holocaust Remembrance

City of Winnipeg Kristallnacht Remembrance

Cites of Minneapolis-St. Paul Holocaust Remembrance

Holocaust Remembrance Week, Toronto

City of Toledo Holocaust Remembrance

City of Rochester Holocaust Remembrance

City of Wichita Holocaust Remembrance

City of South Bend Holocaust Remembrance

Crichton Club, Columbus, OH

Baycrest International Conference, Toronto

Lessons and Legacies Conference, Minneapolis

Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust, Tampa and Philadelphia

Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit

Holocaust Education Coalition of Michigan

Temple Israel, West Palm Beach, FL

Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, TX

St. Mark’s Church, Washington, DC

Congregation Kol Ami, White Plains, NY

B’nai Moshe Congregation, West Bloomfield, MI

Saginaw Art Museum

Yale University

Brown University

Bard College

Williams College

Rutgers University

Washington University, St. Louis

University of Massachusetts--Amherst

University of Vermont

University of Virginia

Boston University

Purdue University

Denison University

University of California at Los Angeles

University of Michigan

University of Texas--Austin

University of Texas--El Paso

University of Minnesota

Hebrew University, Jerusalem

University of Glasgow, Scotland

York University, Toronto

University of Toronto, Canada

Universities of Trent and Nottingham, UK

Michigan State University

Illinois State University

Kansas State University

Florida State University

Keene State University

State University of New York--Buffalo

Hobart-William Smith Colleges

Kenyon College

Knox College

Berea College

Aquinas College

Albion College

Colorado School for the Performing Arts