Mischa Hooker and Charles Thomas Budan in “My Brother's Gift" at the Black Box Theatre -- September 2 through 11.

Friday September 2, through Sunday, September 11

The Black Box Theatre, 1623 Fifth Avenue, Moline IL

A moving play being produced in conjunction with the community-wide Holocaust-remembrance project "Out of Darkness: Holocaust Messages for Today” (OutOfDarknessQC.com), Claudia Haas' award-winning memory drama My Brother's Gift enjoys a September 2 through 11 run at Moline's Black Box Theatre, the work a moving testament to the power of art under unconscionable circumstances.

Based on the remarkable true story of Heinz Geiringer - neighbor and friend to Anne Frank - My Brother’s Gift follows the story of a young artist and loving brother living in unconscionable circumstances. A trained musician at only 15 now forced to live in hiding and silence, Heintz turns to painting and poetry to express his everyday terror but hope of the future, and through his inspired paintings, nostalgic love of life, and sister Eva’s remembrances, the audience is shown the power of art to offer hope and healing.

Anne Frank’s family and Heinz Geiringer’s family were neighbors in Amsterdam, and Anne famously left a diary showing the difficulties of growing up in hiding. Heinz, meanwhile, left more than 20 paintings and a book of poetry. A trained musician who turned to painting and writing to utilize his time, Heinz painted on tea towels, pillowcases, and any surface that he could find. During the play, we witness his artistic growth through his paintings, which vary from a nostalgic love of the life he once led to the fears that were now part of his everyday existence. From the tender ages of 15 to 17, Heinz created a body of work that exists to this day, and My Brother's Gift reveals how art is part of our collective humanity to cope, heal, and hope.

Playwright Haas wrote her stage drama after numerous conversations and collaborations with survivor Eva Schloss, who began speaking of her Holocaust experiences late in her life. Her father and brother died only weeks before liberation, while Eva and her mother survived, eventually returning to Amsterdam. Schloss, and her mother renewed their friendship with Anne's father Otto Frank, and in November of 1953, Schloss' mother Elfrieda married him.

Serving as director for her theatre's production of My Brother's Gift is Black Box co-founder and artistic director Lora Adams, who performed in the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's summer production of Calendar Girls, and whose recent directorial offerings for the Black Box have included Veronica's Room, The Guys, Hate Mail, and Love, Loss, & What I Wore. Adams' latest production features Patti Flaherty as Adult Eva; Wrigley Mancha as young Eva; Charles Thomas Budan as Heinz; Jennifer Cook Gregory as Mutti; Mischa Hooker as Pappy; Ben Bergthold as Herman; Paige Jackson as Sanna; and Lily Critchfield as Mrs. Jansen.

In addition to its run in Moline, My Brother's Gift will also will be taped and air on public-television station WQPT this November. "One of the challenges in directing this play for stage knowing that it will be taped for television is the addition of visual elements in the studio that would not be possible on stage," said Adams. She added, however, that the "key to both versions is the artwork of Heinz."

My Brother's Gift runs September 2 through 11, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Admission is $13-16, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)284-2350 and visiting TheBlackBoxTheatre.com.

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher