World War II drama on the stage in Copake

Constance Lopez, left, and Karissa Payson in "A Shayna Maidel," onstage through Sunday, March 24, at the Copake Grange.

Stephen Sanborn

World War II drama on the stage in Copake

There are three opportunities coming up in March — the 22nd, 23rd and 24th — to be transported through time and memory when The Two of Us Productions presents “A Shayna Maidel” at the Copake Grange.

Director Stephen Sanborn brings to life Barbara Lebow’s award-winning drama, weaving together the poignant reunion of two sisters after World War II through the haunting echoes of their past.

“A Shayna Maidel,” meaning “pretty girl” in Yiddish, tells the story of the reunion of two sisters after World War II, one having survived the Nazi concentration camps. Co-producers Sanborn and his wife, Constance Lopez, have been working with the Copake Grange since 2017 bringing in one-night events such as suspense theater, staged readings, murder mysteries, karaoke and even Sanborn’s own jazz quartet. They are also producing full-scale productions like “A Shayna Maidel” at least twice a year.

“We are supporting the longer-term relationship we have with the Grange where we want to present on a regular basis as a part of working with them,” said Sanborn. Having previously produced Arthur Miller’s “Broken Glass,” several productions of “Cabaret” and a staged reading of “I Am a Camera,” the book that “Cabaret” is based on, Sanborn shared, “We have a particular affinity for this time period. This is the time period where a lot of things happened in the world that set the course in many ways for where we are today.”

“A Shayna Maidel” delves into the complexities of family, survival and resilience in the aftermath of tragedy. Sanborn explained, “It’s not all happiness and light, but it’s positive in a way that, despite all that happens, you can find a way to go forward.” The play’s exploration of memory, particularly through the lens of one sister’s experiences in Auschwitz, adds layers of emotion and depth to the narrative. Much of the story takes place through these memories and dream sequences.

In order to accomplish the transitions between past and present, dream and reality, Sanborn utilizes lights and colors, creating separate worlds: “The way we handle the dream sequences is that I’m able to do a color wash on the whole stage. I use blue, a deep blue and blush pink to denote the memory sequences.”

Sanborn reflected on the relevance of this particular story, stating: “We’re trying to be true to the material because it speaks to experiences that people are having right now. You could pick several places in the world where families are being separated or people are being oppressed and worse. There’s certainly a message there that’s relevant, and we’re trying to make sure that we tell it with the appropriate level of strength so that it comes across for what it is.”

Through its exploration of themes such as immigration, family separation, oppression and memory, “A Shayna Maidel” is sure to resonate with audiences on a profound level. “I think it’s a story that needs to be told,” said Sanborn.

Witness this powerful production, as The Two of Us Productions continues its mission to bring thought-provoking theater to the community Friday, March 22, through Sunday, March 24, at the theater at the Copake Grange, 628 Empire Road in Copake, New York. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinee is at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, and $15 for students and older adults. Call for group rates. For reservations, visit or call 518-329-6293.

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