PLAYS & OTHER WORKS by Cindy Cooper
"Silence Not, A Love Story"
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"Silence Not, A Love Story"
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Silence Not, A Love Story
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Published: Gihon River Press

SILENCE NOT, A Love Story

by Cynthia L. Cooper
 
a full length play
 
published by Gihon River Press
Finalist for Best Book, Drama/Performing Arts, ForeWord Magazine.  See ForeWord Review here.
 
an introduction by Elizabeth Holtzman; Afterword by Dr. Marilyn Frost; an essay on the World of the Play by Cynthia L. Cooper.
 
Also available in large print or ebook.
 
For production information: Plays@CynCooperWriter.net
 
Events, Upcoming & Recent:
  • Reading, Primary Stages, September 9, 2013, 4 pm, 307 W. 38th Street, Suite 1501, New York, NY.  Directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser.
  • More Jewish Women You Should Know, Anne Frank Center, May 2013. Excerpts featuring Abby Royle and Sarah Baskin.
  • Discussion: Anne Frank Center USA, NYC, October 24, 2012
  • Conversation, Norwalk Library, Norwalk CN, Sept 2012
  • BookExpo, Monroe County, East Stroudsburg PA, July 2012
  • US Holocaust Museum, Washington DC, March 25-26, 2012
  • Best Historical Fiction, Books and Authors, 2011
  • Book Fair, New Jersey, Fall 2011
  • Stroudfest, September 2011
  • Independence Day Celebration, July 2011
  • Reading, March 2011, Worthington Players, The Shawnee Playhouse, Shawnee on Delaware PA, Finalists, Original Play Festival
  • Staged Reading, Pocono Community Theater, in conjunction with East Stroudsburg University Graduate Theater Department, dir. Margaret Ball.
  • Author Reading and Talk, East Monroe Public Library.
  • ForeWord Magazine ReviewRead here.
  • Video InterpretationSee Here. 

"Based on the real lives of the protagonists, the play follows Gisa through the early years of her energetic social activism, letting us enjoy her budding romance with Paul Konopka, whom she eventually marries in real life. We also witness Gisa being captured and tolerating imprisonment by the Nazis, and we watch her escape to freedom — aided unexpectedly at a key moment by a bystander who just as easily could have decided to betray her.

 

The play is innovative in a number of ways. Just as the story takes place on several levels, the stage itself is designed in levels, with people at the railway station looming upstage as other action takes place at stage level closer to the audience. ..

 

Another innovative touch is that there are two versions of Gisa on stage at almost all times – the younger activist Gisa and her more grown-up counterpart viewing and commenting from the raised railway station. This adds perspective by enabling us to undergo experiences as they happen to the younger Gisa, and yet still look back at the action from the hard-earned vantage point gained by the older Gisa.

 

The play is billed as a love story, and it is that. The charming deepening relationship between Gisa and Paul satisfies our romantic thirst. Yet the play is a love story on a larger level, too — a love for humanity, a love for the courage of people who care for others and fight for the betterment of all despite the personal costs, in ordinary times as well as in extraordinary times.

 

...(A) great many of us appreciate and admire purity of spirit and mesirat nefesh like Gisa’s, and that is one of the reasons that the play is so satisfying.

 

... If you like leaving a play feeling not only entertained but also ennobled and elevated, then Silence Not, A Love Story is warmly recommended."

 

Midnight East, Jerusalem, Israel

 

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Center Stage, Jerusalem: Rina Kwartin, Naama Nachum

Cooper is clearly a playwright at the height of her powers. She easily balances themes of empowerment, struggle, and equality, and raises the stakes by addressing the atrocities of the Holocaust. Rather than take a preachy approach to such serious subject matter, Cooper uses a deft touch to incorporate historical detail and human emotion. . .. Cooper weaves the ordinary and the political into a single braid, showing all aspects of the resistance in a comprehensive, effortless way. Unlike many writers, who hammer away at the suffering caused by the Nazis, Cooper lets the facts speak for themselves. The result is striking and breaks new ground in much-trodden soil.

....Gisa is a strong, independent character, and a refreshing alternative to many of the love-reliant female characters in contemporary theater.

Thought-provoking without being abstract, historical without being condescending, Silence Not is a heady, beautifully written play. Worth reading several times, it strikes a lovely balance between poetry and reality, bringing to life a diverse cast of characters in a challenging time period. 

Claire Rudy Foster, ForeWord Magazine

"Everyone loves a love story, especially one with a happy ending, and award-winning playwright and journalist Cynthia L. Cooper’s latest play, a forty-four scene two-act, is a whopper. Silence Not, A Love Story tells the improbable tale — based on a true story."  It is about a man and a woman, as a prologue by Elizabeth Holtzman explains, whose "very humanity lay in their acts of resisting evil. They could no more remain passive, removed, and quiescent than they could stop breathing… Without those who stand up for justice, where would the rest of us be?”

Eleanor Bader -- Read more from Feminist Review

"Cooper’s story is a story of courage, for all ages, all sexes, all cultures – reminding us, that courage sees no boundaries.”
Janis F. Kearney, former Personal Diarist to President William J. Clinton, author, Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir.
"This powerful play recreates in moving drama the (anti-Nazi) struggles and the desperate attempt of good people to remain moral in the most immoral of societies. Powerful, poignant and penetrating, it will move those who read it and cause them to ponder the sources of courage and resistance."
 
Michael Berenbaum, Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Sigi Zieirng Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust, American Jewish University.
 
“Cynthia Cooper is a powerful playwrightSilence Not, A Love Story will spark a fabulous discussion on resistance today.  Gisa and Paul have incredible moral courage and a lifelong love that sustains them through a terrible period in history when society failed.  Each of us needs to consider our character at every moment – are we perpetrator, victim, helper, bystander, or resister?  Every high school student should read this play.”
Maureen McNeil, Director of Education, The Anne Frank Center USA
"The play, set in Germany from 1929 to 1938, revolves around a new generation of idealists mounting a resistance to a growing right wing terrorist government.... The play examines the life of two people caught up in situations that rub against the value of human rights."
Phil Sieratski, American Gathering Newspaper
"Almost every they were doing as part of the resistance was dangerous, including their personal relationship - she was Jewish, he was Catholic....This play, and the lives of Peiper and Konopka, shows us that no matter what barriers are place before us, we laways have the ability to 'overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.'"
Levi Fishman, Jewish Outreach Institute Blog
“Rooted in early twentieth century Europe and strikingly similar to contemporary struggles all over the globe, Cynthia Cooper’s Silence Not, A Love Story offers readers and audiences the always necessary integration of art and politics.  She’s a skillful playwright who uses history, with its relentless examination of our lives, as a rich source for theater.”
 
Judith Arcana: poet, writer and scholar.  She is the author of  "hat if your mother,"as well as "4th Period English,"and "Grace Paley’s Life Stories, A Literary Biography."  
"This play, based on Gisa Peiper's life .... is a tribute to an impressive personality ...  The heroine's fear and her courage are conveyed strongly.  The prison scene is especially effective, together with the surprise ending."
Chaim Seymour, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, "Reviews" American Jewish Library, February-March 2010.
 

Articles:

 

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EVENTS:
 
  • Reading, Primary Stages, September 9, 2013, 4 pm, 307 W. 38th Street, Suite 1501, New York, NY.  Directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser.
  • More Jewish Women You Should Know, Anne Frank Center, May W013, 6:30 pm.  A Reading of Excerpts and Discussion.
  • Discussion: Anne Frank Center USA, NYC, October 24, 2012
  • Discussion, Norwalk Library, CT, September 8, 2012
  • Book Expo, Monroe County, PA, July 21, 2012
  • Book Signing, US Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC, March 25-26, 2012
  • Best Historical Fiction 2011, Books and Authors, December 2011
  • Book Fair, New Jersey, Fall 2011
  • Stroudfest; Independence Day Celebration; Monroe Library, Summer 2011
  • Finalist, Original Playwright Contest 2011, Shawnee Playhouse PA
  • November 7, 2010, 7 pm: Staged Reading, Pocono Community Theater, in conjunction with East Stroudsburg University Graduate Theater Department, dir. Margaret Ball. www.poconocommunitytheater.org.  
  • November 7, 2010, 3 pm, Author Reading and Talk, East Monroe Public Library, Hughes Library Community Room
  • July 10, 2010: Public Library Book Fair Event, East Stroudsberg, PA 
  • June 6-7, 2010: Book Signing, Holocaust Museum, Washington DC
  • May 2010 Book Expo, NYC; Finalist, ForeWord Magazine, best book in performing arts category
  • April 2010: Premiere, Center Stage Theater, Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah Center, Jerusalem, Israel, directed by Gabriella Willenz, open April 11.  http://www.themerkaz.org.il  Also see Go Jerusalem; see Midnight East ; Jersalem events;
  • Jerusalem Previews. Beit Avi Chai, March 2010 
  • March 2010: Named a Finalist for 2009 Best Book Award, Drama/Performing Arts by ForeWord Publishing. 
  • Feb 9, 2010. Staged Reading, St. Paul, MN.  at the Wellstone Center in W.St.Paul, part of The Konopka Institute of the University of Minnesota, Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Gisa Konopka,  dinner & reception.  For info: cyn@cyncooperwriter.net 
  • Dec 2009. Justice for All Radio Show: 'Resisting Tyranny in 1929 and Today.'  Listen here.
  • Nov 2009. Bob Marone, WVOX Radio.
  • Oct 2009. Talk, Eastern Monroe Public Library, Stroudsburg, PA.  Click to read MORE.
  • May 2009. Book Expo, Gihon River Press, NYC. Feb 2009. at The Anne Frank Center USA in NYC, directed by Joanne Edelmann.
  • Feb 2009. Reading at the Anne Simley Theatre, Hamline University, MN, directed by Carolyn Levy.
  • April 2008. Geraldine Page Center for the Arts, NYC, coordinated by Angelica Page.

About 'Silence Not, A Love Story':

 

A young Jewish woman and Catholic man find love and courage as they engage in resistance to the rise of Nazism in Germany in the early 1930s.  In standing up for their ideals despite the dangers, they discover the importance of self-respect, the inspiration of art and the good of humanity, managing to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to carry forward their beliefs. 

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Gisa Peiper Konopka

Silence Not is based on the true story of Dr. Gisela Peiper Konopka (1910-2003) and her husband, Paul Konopka. Dr. Konopka was a professor, author and international expert in child welfare and group social work, known for her abiding sense of justice.  In her honor, the University of Minnesota established The Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health in 1998.  

 

Gisa later wrote: “(Human beings) carry in them the seeds of destruction as well as great love and giving.  It will depend on us, each person within each generation at all times, what we help to bring forth.  This is an unending task.”   

 

Read excerpts here: What's In The Book, Gihon River Press

Some pictures connected to the play ...
 
See more photos at Gihon River Press.

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Gisa Konopka

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Hamburg Train Station

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kathe Kollwitz

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Kathe Kollwitz drawing

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Book burning, Germany 1930s

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German resisters prepare a leaflet

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Tools: Typewriter and Gestetner

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1930s kiosk, recreated by German Resistance Memorial Center

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Resisters in woods

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From a poster at the German Resistance Memorial Center

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Sculpture by Paul Konopka

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Gisa Peiper (Konopka), Germany