Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents
Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski
Starring Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn in timely story of moral courage
now playing in limited engagement through November 14, 2021
Chicago—November 4, 2021—Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Emmy Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn in a tour-de-force performance in Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, in a limited engagement in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, November 3-14, 2021. Written by Clark Young and Derek Goldman and directed by Derek Goldman, Remember This was originally created by The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University.
Best known for acclaimed performances in Good Night, and Good Luck, Nomadland, and Lincoln, David Strathairn takes on the role of real-life World War II hero Jan Karski. After surviving the devastation of Poland by Nazi Germany, Karski risks his life to carry the first eyewitness reports of the Holocaust to the White House, only to be met with inaction and disbelief. Strathairn captures the remarkable life of the self-described “insignificant, little man” who spoke truth in the halls of power in a timely story of moral courage. Following each performance, audiences are invited to stay for a 20‑minute talkback with David Strathairn, Derek Goldman, and Clark Young.
Joining Goldman on the creative team are Scenic Designer Misha Kachman, Costume Designer Ivania Stack, Lighting Designer Zach Blane, Assistant Lighting Designer Peter Leibold, Original Music and Sound Design by Roc Lee, Movement by Emma Jaster, and Production Stage Manager Andrew Neal.
The central figure of the play is Jan Karski, a courier for the Polish Underground resistance during World War II. In 1942, Karski volunteered to walk through the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi extermination camp before traveling to London to report to the Allied Nations on the conditions of occupied Poland and, specifically, the Holocaust. He personally delivered his eyewitness account—and urgent appeal for intervention on behalf of the Jewish people—to British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, and later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House. His report was ignored. After the war, Karski earned his PhD at Georgetown University, where he was a beloved professor in the School of Foreign Service for 40 years. Karski didn’t share his story for decades until filmmaker Claude Lanzmann persuaded him to speak of his experiences for the first time in the celebrated documentary Shoah. Karski was made an honorary citizen of Israel and was awarded the distinction “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem. Karski died in Washington, DC, in July 2000. He was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on May 29, 2012.
On Monday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m., Chicago Shakespeare partners with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois, to present a free event: “Performing Memory and Witness: The Lesson of Jan Karski.” Live performances of selections from the play serve as the backdrop for a panel discussion about how theater can serve as a powerful call to action. Panelists include Remember This artists David Strathairn, Derek Goldman, and Clark Young, as well as Devika Ranjan, a Chicago-based theater-maker, ethnographer, and educator, and Della Pollock, Professor Emerita at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Event registration linked here.
Chicago Shakespeare strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for Remember This include:
- Open-captioned Performances – Thursday, November 11, 2021, at 7:45 p.m.
A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.
- ASL Interpreted Performance – Friday, November 12, 2021, at 7:45 p.m.
All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by a certified interpreter.
- Audio-described Performance – Sunday, November 14, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.
A program that enables patrons who are blind or have low vision to more fully experience live performances by providing spoken narration of a play’s key visual elements.
More information on the production at chicagoshakes.com/rememberthis or on social media at #cstRemember.
Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski is now playing through November 14, 2021 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Run time is 90 minutes (no intermission), followed by a 20-minute talkback with the artists. Single tickets ($43–$75) are on sale now. Special discounts will be available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a year-round season—featuring plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming, each year serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers, one in four audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, Chicago Shakespeare works to embrace diversity, prioritize radical inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire us. www.chicagoshakes.com