"DelikateSSen,"A Groundbreaking New Film and Play
A riveting drama unlike anything you have ever seen before!
New York Stage Production and Film Adaptation
Currently in Development through
producer Alixx Schottland
Over the Rainbow Entertainment
Matt Penn - Director
Richard Atkins - Playwright & Screenwriter
(For more info go to the About Us page)
LATEST EXCELLENT NOTICE
FROM LIMITED RUN
Critic Dean Yannias from Talkin' Broadway
Richard Atkins' script flows smoothly and quickly,
with natural-sounding dialogue, nothing phony.
Atkins plays the lead role of David,
and he is as good an actor as he is a playwright,
and that means very good.
I enjoyed this play both times that I have seen it;
the enjoyment that comes from seeing a
well-crafted, well-plotted, well-acted
piece of theater.
NOVEMBER PRODUCTION AT THE VSA NORTH FOURTH ART CENTER
L to R: Richard Atkins, Ray Orley, Annelise Wall, Salome Martinez Lutz and Scott Claunch.
Playwright Richard Atkins has chosen to focus on the struggles of one Jewish family, thirty long years after the war has ended. The place, New York City, circa 1972. Yet the past continues to haunt one man's soul so profoundly, he is faced with immeasurable choices, no man should have to make...
LINK TO ARTICLE
A TRIUMPHANT WORLD PREMIERE
WITH SOLD OUT HOUSES, RAVE REVIEWS AND STANDING OVATIONS!
Jain Lemos of ABQ to do writes:
The confident cast of “DeliKateSSen” serves a two-course feast of emotional soup at the Adobe Theater in this original play by Richard Atkins. Opening night marked a triumph for the East Mountain writer and actor who unleashes a flawless performance as a New York deli owner and Holocaust survivor.
Dean Yannias of Talkin' Broadway writes:
I have to hand it to the Adobe Theater. About once a year, they present the World Premiere of a play by a local author. I think they have a winner this year!
The play is called DelikateSSen.
The play is quite well plotted, and it doesn't go where I thought it was going to go, so I don't want to reveal much more. It all fit together tightly, with an extra little kick at the very end!
Dianne R. Layden of the Jewish E Link writes:
"DeliKateSSen" by Richard Atkins is a powerful play about the long-term influences of the Holocaust that intertwines themes of history, morality and family. Consummate performances by the actors, directed by Cheryl Atkins, portray 10 characters, all pivotal.
FIRST RAVE REVIEW!
THEATRE REVIEW, DELIKATESSEN
April 4, 2015
By Jain Lemos
The confident cast of “DeliKateSSen” serves a two-course feast of emotional soup at the Adobe Theater in this original play by Richard Atkins. Opening night marked a triumph for the East Mountain writer and actor who ideated the plot in 2011 followed by its first public staged reading at Albuquerque’s Vortex in September 2013. Now a full production on the Adobe’s cozy platform, Atkins unleashes a flawless performance as a New York deli owner and Holocaust survivor.
The story takes place in 1972 at Shapiro’s in Midtown where brothers David (Richard Atkins) and Yossi (Scott Claunch) run a kosher eatery. Stressing about the lack of business, David’s pessimism and sour demeanor is contrasted by Yossi’s compassion and brightness for better days to come. But no amount of hopefulness can fix what’s ahead for these troubled siblings, especially in view of what they’ve endured in the past.
Two lonely elderly patrons, Maria Schneider (Sharon Sprague) an unmarried German Jew and Franz Becker (Ray Orley) an Austrian accountant, represent the promise of détente as they encourage David to drop his Aryan loathing and suspicions. Sprague is whimsically sharp and comfortable opposite Orley’s skillful depiction of Becker as a mysterious yet mild mannered gent. David is not amused by the pair’s forgive-and-forget attitude. When Rabbi Weiss (Joel Miller) arrives to reluctantly tell the Shapiro’s about Reinhardt’s, a German deli that’s opening across the street, David’s disdain turns into an obsessive and defensible vendetta.
Atkins shows David’s revulsion of all things German with stellar fervor. In a penetrating monologue detailing the unimaginable level of inhumanity the brothers suffer in a concentration camp, Atkins’ range dives so deep it leaves you wondering what personal well he’s pulling from. Claunch approaches Yossi with equal acumen as he expertly moves along the complex arc of his character’s path. The actor inspires us to root for Yossi and we are eager for his virtue to prevail.
David’s wife Sarah (Georgia Athearn) attempts to break the spell of bitterness swamping her husband. Athearn, who over-projects her lines at times, presents the matriarch as uninterested in rehashing old atrocities. Their teenaged daughter Rachel (Marteena Bentley) develops her theology from David’s: Germans are unworthy of grace. Bentley evolves Rachel in a manner that brings a powerful and unanticipated metamorphosis.
Justin Raper as nemesis Klaus Reinhardt steals scenes, elevating the play to incredible heights. At one point, he enters a zone of autohypnotic intensity, displaying an acting ability beyond what is typically seen in community theater. Nazi hunter and TV personality Yaakov Zeiman (Eliot Stenzel) enters the fray as David’s allied hatemonger. If Reinhardt is a Nazi, Zeiman is sure to find proof. Stenzel dons a heavy aura for the part. With impeccable gestures and expressions he delivers a convincing rendering of the shadowy figure. As events unfold during ten days, the pacing stays crisp while the theme becomes persistently absorbing.
Veteran director Cheryl Atkins skillfully steers the effects of hatred through the narrative like a slow poison. She selected players guaranteed to provide authentic accents and sentiments. All actors developed complete backstories as one of her requirements. The dialogue as it stands couldn’t be better, but rest assured any improvisations would be just as good thanks to this extra preparation. Her production team transforms the black box space into a set replete with dozens of realistic touches, right down to the Shapiro’s logo created for the menus and aprons. The projected media sequences of historical quotes as scene introductions are also excellent additions and bring even more depth to this thought-provoking experience.
New Mexico play worker and Tony Award winner Mark Medoff—who collaborated with Atkins on the script—will be directing the drama this fall in South Carolina. From there, the show is likely to continue receiving accolades and recognition. Meanwhile, be sure to see “DeliKateSSen” at the Adobe which runs weekends through April 24. You can find performance dates and ticketing information here.
SECOND RAVE REVIEW!
By Dean Yannias
April 9, 2015
I have to hand it to the Adobe Theater. About once a year, they pre-sent the world premiere of a play by a local author. These are not just readings, but fully staged productions with four-week runs. You can't count on people coming to see something they've never heard of, yet the Adobe repeatedly takes the risk.
I think they have a winner this year. The play is called DelikateSSen. It was written by the prolific Albuquerque-area (by way of New York) playwright Richard Atkins, with a dramaturgical assist from Mark Medoff, who lives in southern New Mexico. Note the German spelling, and how the SS of "delikateSSen" stands out. You might have already figured out some of what this play is about.
Although created by writers who live in New Mexico, the play has nothing to do with our state and everything to do with New York City and the Second World War. It takes place in 1972 and revolves around Shapiro's Deli, which is owned by David Shapiro and his younger brother Yossi. They both survived the concentration camp at Birkenau thanks to a special arrangement that the commandant had with David. 27 years later, they find themselves in early middle age, not in their native Belarus, but running a kosher deli on 55th Street in Manhattan, not all that successfully.
Apart from the conflicts between David and Yossi and especially those within David himself (persistent PTSD, anger, etc.), the central conflict of the play develops when a German survivor of the war, Klaus Reinhardt, opens a German deli and biergarten directly across the street from them. What are his motives? Can Shapiro's survive? Can David dig up some Nazi dirt on Klaus? Is the war going to be played out again on 55th Street?
The play is quite well plotted, and it doesn't go where I thought it was going to go, so I don't want to reveal much more. A viewer who is more astute than I am might be able to pick up on some early hints as to what will happen in the second act. (One word to look up after you see the play: ammonpulver.) It all fits together tightly, with an extra little kick at the very end.
Atkins writes natural-sounding dialogue, and nothing seems phony or forced and one technique that Atkins uses works really well. At the play's beginning and end and between scenes, we see projections on the wall. Some are simply time/date/location, but most are quotes, audio and visual, from people famous and not so famous. There are the usual Nazis (Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Eichmann) and the expected Jews (Anne Frank, Primo Levi), but also Churchill and some survivors of the camps. The aphorism most relevant to the play, though, comes from Friedrich Nietzsche: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." The projections are technically challenging and flawlessly executed. I was told that the credit for them should go to Norm Fletcher, who also did the sound design.
The set (designed by Ju Meng Tan and scenic artist Karin Pitman; built by Rick Hassi, Dale Diamond, Cy Hoffman and Gerald Sandoval; and painted by Linda Leach, Jeremy Jarimillo and Ed Boucher) is terrific. Excellent lighting and special effects are by Stan Olivarez, and the wonderful '70s costumes (the nightmare of bell-bottoms) are by Judi Beuhler and Nancy Planka. However, whoever provided the hippie wig for the character Adam Ginsberg should be sued by the actor forced to wear it (David Bentley). Everything is stage-managed by Linda Leach.
The director is Cheryl Atkins, the wife of Richard, and she has assembled a good cast and excellent crew. She keeps things moving, helped by the projections that occupy our attention during scene changes. Richard Atkins plays David Shapiro, and is rarely off stage. But lest you think this is just a vanity project or nepotism, he is a really good actor.
Most of the rest of the cast is fine, too. Some of the actors have wobbly German and Yiddish accents, but apart from that, are convincing in their roles. I was most impressed by Georgia Athearn, Sharon Sprague, Marteena Bentley, Justin Raper, and Scott Claunch, along with Atkins. I have seen Ray Orley and Eliot Stenzel enough times on stage to expect good work from them always, and they don't disappoint. The German Shepherd, Sarge, is remarkably well-trained.
DelikateSSen is not going to be an easy play for some audience members to watch, even though we are now 70 years post-Holocaust. But that's the whole point: it cannot be forgotten. We have to be reminded every so often of the monstrous things that humans do to each other, so that we do not become monsters ourselves.
Whether this play will go on to further acclaim, I won't try to predict. Success in the arts has as much to do with luck as with merit. There will be another production of DelikateSSen directed by Mark Medoff this fall in South Carolina, but I would say, see the original right here in Albuquerque.
DelikateSSen, a new play by Richard Atkins, is being given its world premiere at the Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth Street NW (3 blocks north of Alameda) in Albuquerque. Through April 26, 2015. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:00. Info at www.adobetheater.org or 505-898-9222.
THIRD RAVE REVIEW!
ADOBE THEATER'S "DELIKATESSEN
COMPELLING IN EVERY RESPECT!
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
By Dianne R. Layden
“DeliKateSSen,” by Richard Atkins, is a powerful play about the long-term influences of the Holocaust that intertwines themes of history, morality, and family. Consummate performances by the actors, directed by Cheryl Atkins, portray 10 characters, all pivotal. I will be spare with details so as not to spoil the unexpected dramatic moments.
The play is set in a Manhattan deli soon after the 1972 Munich Olympics, where the eleven members of the Israeli team were murdered by the Palestinian group Black September.
From my first view of the stage, I was engrossed in the story. Shapiro’s Deli (“Since 1955”) has a typical décor with a counter and red leather stools, glass case with desserts, linoleum floor with black and white diamonds, blackboard with specials, wall thermometer with a Coke insignia, and list of famous New York City sites, such as Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Coney Island. For me, the set was a character.
To provide an historical context, projections of Holocaust pictures appear on one wall with quotations by historical figures, including Adolf Hitler, Elie Wiesel, Heinrich Himmler, Anne Frank, Adolph Eichmann, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Joseph Goebbels, and Winston Churchill. The effect is to remind the audience throughout the play of the horrors of genocide.
Both drama and tragedy, “DeliKateSSen” tells of two brothers, David Shapiro (Richard Atkins) and Yossi Shapiro (Scott Claunch), Holocaust concentration camp survivors imprisoned at Birkenau during World War II. Inconsolable, David is traumatized and angry, while Yossi, who limps because he was wounded at the camp, is able to forgive and focus on the present.
As they cope with the deli’s financial troubles, a bigger and better German deli and beer garden opens across the street. These circumstances result in tragic consequences. “DeliKateSSen” is a plea to end hate and its perpetual cycle of violence.
Other characters are David’s wife (Georgia Athearn), their daughter (Marteena Bentley), her boyfriend (David Bentley), two customers (Sharon Sprague, Ray Orley), the German deli owner (Justin Raper), a Nazi hunter (Eliot Stenzel), and a rabbi (Joel Miller).
NMSU professor Mark Medoff, author of the Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” served as dramaturge (play advisor), part of an ongoing collaboration with Richard since 2005. Mark directed his play “The Men of Mah Jongg,” which has been staged in several cities.
Cheryl and Richard Atkins are married, have decades of theater experience, and are officers of the East Mountain Centre for Theatre in Sandia Park. Richard has written 20 plays and 9 murder mysteries, some of which are musicals, while Cheryl has directed award-winning Broadway plays. “DeliKateSSen” took 4 years to complete, with readings in Chicago and Albuquerque.
“DeliKateSSen” will be performed through Sunday, April 26, at the Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth St. NW, 2 blocks north of Alameda, 898-9222, adobetheater.org.
Albuquerque Journal Article
March 29, 2015m the toolbar.
Richard Atkins plays David Shapiro and Justin Raper plays Klaus Reinhardt
Television Interview on KASA!
Article in the Alibi
"DelikateSSen" is a firestorm from beginning to end, both riveting in its intensity and compelling with every twist and turn. It's a mystery that leads from one confrontation to the next culminating in a climax never before seen on stage and the denouement is so powerful, readers have been left sitting deep in thought, long after the last word has been read as the play delivers an enormous impact!
Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H fame states:
Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H fame states:
"Atkins play is compelling, powerful. I just could not stop reading it. It can remain a secret, but I cannot help but wonder if this was an actual story of people Atkins interviewed or knew. The projections are wonderful added touches. Atkins is a wonderful talent and should be proud of this piece of work. Bravo."
"DelikateSSen" was one of five finalists out of 400+ scripts up for the Christopher Brian Wolk Award at
New York City's Abingdon Theatre.
The finalists for the 2014 award were:
Richard Atkins for DelikateSSen
Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich for Romeo Chang
Martyna Majok for Petty Harbour
Jenny Seidelman for Henry Moore Is Melting
Howard Waxman for 18 Villa Seurat
Copyright Certification * December 19, 2013
Go to our testimonial page!
Cast and Wonderful Tech Crew!
A wonderful Workshop Production
was done at Centre Stage,
directed by the phenomenal
with an excellent, non-Equity cast.
REVIEW: Centre Stage Serves High Drama in Compelling ‘DeliKateSSen’
“DeliKateSSen” is a riveting portrait of a family thrust into turmoil. Bolstered by a first-rate cast, this engrossing story with one twist after another excoriates a festering wound of hate and trauma with genuine pathos in an emotional, visceral flood of all of your senses.
BY SANDY STAGGS DRAMA CRITIC
Shapiro’s Delikatessen is practically a fixture in this insular Midtown neighborhood in New York City, but business is lackluster right now. And the prospect of a flashy new Deli and Beer Garden opening across the street is causing the established Jewish owners (and Holocaust survivors) considerable distress, particularly when they find out their rival restauranteurs are German.
The year is 1972 in “DeliKateSSen,” the engrossing whirlwind drama by Richard Atkins that is receiving its regional premiere at Centre Stage in Greenville through May 21.
And in an unorthodox move, Atkins ‑ the 2016 playwright-in-residence of the company’s New Play Festival where he developed his newest play “The Men of Mah Jongg” ‑ also stars as David, the elder Shapiro who has spent his entire life protecting his kid brother Yossi (embodied by Centre Stage veteran actor Bruce Meahl).
The Shapiros’ horrific experience at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in World War II happened nearly 30 years, and the subject has been deliberately purged from their memories. David and his wife Sarah (Tiffany Nave) have even whitewashed the demise of Sarah’s entire family when it comes to their teen-age daughter Rachel (Anna Lee Altman), sparing her the horrid truth of how 19 of her relatives were wiped out by the Nazis.
But the murder of their deli delivery man and news of a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September kidnapping and slaughtering 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics sends David into a frenzied state of pandemonium. His suppressed trauma from the death camp is triggered by the most innocuous of acts such as hearing Johann Strauss’ “Emperor Waltz” being played by a violinist on the street. He becomes highly suspect of everyone, especially the Reinhartds across the way, and contacts a celebrated Nazi hunter to investigate them.
Director Ellen Jones, in her first Centre Stage outing since “Angel Street” (aka “Gaslight”) some five years ago has staged this play superbly with focused, multi-layered performances in an engrossing cathartic production that engages all of the audience’s senses.
The glossy visual façade (see below) and time setting reinforce an element of historical truth, though “DeliKateSSen” is an entirely fictional story, and one refined by dramaturg and playwright Mark Medoff, the Tony and Olivier Award winner for “Children of a Lesser God.”
And while his accent does meander at times, the New Mexico-based Atkins is a highly-skilled and methodical actor who has lived and breathed the Shapiro family for some seven years when he began writing “DeliKateSSen.” He also assumed the part of David in the play’s world premiere in 2015 at the Adobe Theater in Albuquerque.
Atkins embarks on a bewitching, piteousness descent here from a loving family man and business owner to a devastated human being wrought with hate as his backstory is slowly unraveled to the viewer. With rich, multi-faceted pathos, Atkins’ David allows the Holocaust to define his existence and surrenders to his “eye for an eye” vendetta, oblivious to the destructive nature of his hate and the confounding influence it has on those around him.
And Meahl perhaps in his finest, most nuanced performance to date, does the consummate job of the straight guy, the dramatic foil who wants to leave the their torrid past behind. Meahl’s character is the moral epicenter of the drama, as well as the deli and dies a whole lot of cooking in this play.
Ms. Nave and Miss Altman (recent co-stars of “Blythe Spirit” at Spartanburg Little Theatre) lend loads of gravitas to their roles, particularly Altman, whose character has been sheltered from the Holocaust and undergoes a mordant metamorphosis that you won’t see coming.
As the famed Nazi Hunter Yaakov Zeiman, Peter Godfrey, who was also part of the staged reading of “The Men of Mah Jongg” last fall, delivers a resolute performance, steeped in enigmatic intrigue. Presented as a composite of Simon Wiesenthal and a Scotland Yard detective in a trench coat, Zeiman is consumed by war crime justice and has exposed over 100 Nazi criminals via his TV show “Hiding in Plain Sight,” which Atkins modeled after “America’s Most Wanted” hosted by John Walsh.
And among the splendid supporting players, redhead Rachel Jeffreys sports the finest accent in the cast as Maria Schneider, a deli regular who falls for a mysterious Austrian (Centre Stage regular Richard Beveridge) known as Franz Becker. And Ken Kraft (who just appeared as the Monsignor in “Sister Act: The Musical”) rounds out the cast as rival restaurant owner Klaus Reinhardt.
In between the scene transitions, Atkins shows brief visuals on a video screen above the stage of haunting images and obscure and profound quotes and voice overs from survivors and figures from the Holocaust, as well as a “real” news broadcast of events that occur only in the drama itself.
There is also a video epilogue with shocking expository revelations that neatly wrap up the plot. However, in my only beef with this production, it is shown simultaneously with the graceful curtain call of the cast members and competes for the viewers’ attention. Perhaps, they could come back after the video for an final bow and get the applause they deserve.
Ms. Nave is also costumer for this play and I really adored the avocado greens for Sarah, and the harvest gold and rust for Rachel.
The set was designed by Executive Artistic Director Glenda ManWaring with an impressive tile-floor painted by Jenni Baldwin. The props were designed by Jessica Eckenrod and Hair & Make-up by Victor DeLeon.
The Stage Manager for “DeliKateSSen” is Christopher Rose with Jean Bartlett as Assistant Stage Manager. The Lighting and Sound operator is Julie Florin.
PLAYWRIGHT RICHARD ATKINS APPEARING ON THE MORNING BREW WITH LARRY AHRENS, TALKING ABOUT THE PLAY.
A Great Turnout in Chicago
For A Highly Praised Reading
A Great Turnout in Chicago
For A Highly Praised Reading
Author Richard Atkins (left) and Actor Madrid St. Angelo
Lillian Gerstner from the Illinois Holocaust Museum
moderates the talk-back
From Left, Gary Houston, Cory Krebsbach and Judy Rice
Madrid St. Angelo, Charlie Rasmann & Mike Hall
Genesis Theatricals Producer Elayne LeTraunik
September 28th at the Vortex Theatre in Albuquerque!
PHOTOS FROM THE TALK BACK AFTER THE READING
Copy for the September 22, 2013 Article
SANDIA PARK PLAYWRIGHT SHOWS 2 VIEWS
by David Steinberg
Sandia Park playwright Richard Atkins is taking a new perspective on the Holocaust in his script “DelikateSSen” – Jewish and German.
The subject is broached when two Jewish brothers, David and Yossi Shapiro, are facing hard times running their famous Jewish delicatessen in midtown Manhattan.
The brothers fear business will get even tougher with the new competition: A German is opening up his own deli, Reinhardt’s, across the street.
The first public staged reading of the play will be Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Vortex Theatre.
“I thought I should bring the Holocaust into the picture as the brothers were made orphans by the Holocaust. They lost all 16 members of their family,” Atkins said.
“But I also wanted to show a different side – the German view. … I’m trying to give a more humanistic side to the German point of view.”
He also thought carefully about what year to put the play in. It takes place in 1972. New York’s city government is bankrupt. The Bronx is in flames.
Atkins said Mark Medoff, a well-known Las Cruces playwright, director, professor and dramaturge for the play, urged him to set the play right after the 1972 Munich Olympics at which 11 Israeli Olympic team members were massacred.
“It’s definitely unique in pitting merchants of different backgrounds and they’re bringing an incredible amount of baggage with them,” Atkins said.
“But the play isn’t as much about the Holocaust as it is about the family unit – brothers, wives, kids. How memories of the Holocaust 25, 30 years later continue to affect the family unit. That’s also the idea for the German family. Their family unit is at stake as well.”Atkins said the issues of hate, revenge and forgiveness also come into play.Among the actors reading are Joe Alberti as David Shapiro, Benjamin Liberman as his brother Yossi, Ray Orley as Karl Eisler, an old German violinist and Arthur Alpert as Rabbi Weiss.Atkins, artistic director of the East Mountain Centre for Theatre, is hoping to mount a full production in Albuquerque.“Many regional theaters are looking at it and I’m working on a screenplay,” he said.
The People of
The People of