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LETTER: Play Documents Struggle and Triumph


Thank you for your recent preview of “The Little Lion” (Arts & Culture, Feb. 3). Irene Ziegler wrote a deeply poignant play, which was inspired by my historical novel of the same name. Tom Width, artistic director at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, has cast and directed the show so powerfully that attendees are raving about it.

In your review, Avraham Tory was reported to have been the main character in the book and play. Tory played an important role in documenting the history of Kovno ghetto, which eventually became a book, “Surviving the Holocaust: the Kovno Ghetto Diary.” I used Tory’s book as a primary resource while writing “The Little Lion.” However, Labaile Gillman, a teenage Jewish youth, is the protagonist of the book and the play. Laibale and his extended family were forced into Kovno ghetto when it was formed in August 1941 in Kaunas, Lithuania.

The book and play document the struggle and triumph of the Gillman family through that dark era. To date, Dr. Sara Gillman Pliamm (a niece of Laibale Gillman, whom he saved from certain death), attended opening night. Now 75 and a Canadian resident, Dr. Pliamm was accompanied by her daughter. Her son, who was named for Laibale Gillman, plans to attend. There have also been nine other direct descendants of the Gillman family who have come from Florida and Canada to see the play.

I hope your readers will also consider attending this world premiere. The play runs through March 5 at Swift Creek Mill Theatre.

Nancy Wright Beasley
North Chesterfield


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