Wake Forest presents musical drama 'A Table Before Me'

By Pam Barrett
January 10, 2006

Claudia Stevens, a composer, pianist, singer and actor, will perform an original one-act, one-woman musical drama titled "A Table Before Me" at Wake Forest University at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29. The performance, which will be held in the Ring Theatre of Scales Fine Arts Center, is free and open to the public.

Claudia Stevens

"A Table Before Me" tells the story of the terror the Sinai family (Stevens' mother's family) experienced during the Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938. As Stevens portrays various characters, including Nazi bureaucrats, her grandfather and her mother, through acting and song, she recreates the atmosphere of increasing brutality as the family is stripped of property, dignity and life.

The script of "A Table Before Me" includes actual letters and documents from 1938-1941 released from the Austrian State Archives in 1997 that chronicle orders from the Gestapo and chart the destruction of the "assets" of a typical family.

Stevens has presented "A Table Before Me" at more than 25 colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio called it "one of the most profound theater moments of recent times."

Stevens is a trained performance artist, pianist, musicologist, conductor and composer. She holds degrees in music from Vassar College and the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in piano from Boston University. She is an associate professor of piano at the College of William and Mary and is currently serving as a visiting scholar at Brandeis University for the 2005-2006 academic year.

The performance is sponsored by Wake Forest's Pro Humanitate Center.

For more information about the performance, call (336)758-6075.