JUNE 27, 2019 BROADWAY WORLD
As Moti shares five pieces of paper on which his dearly departed Hungarian Grandmother shared the horrors she endured, and never spoke about, during the Holocaust, he also takes on the characters of many others who crossing her path, sings Yiddish songs, and manages to prepare one his favorites from her many desserts. He even shares the recipe of Savta’s Chocolate Coconut Cake in the program, and offers the cake he cooked during the 75-minute show to audience members afterwards. That kind of personal attention to taking care of others is exactly the most important lesson learned from his beloved Grandmother. I am sure she is kvelling in heaven.
This deeply moving and incredibly personal family story spoke directly to me since I am also a descendant of European Jews who fled their homes in Poland and Russia and made their way to America to be sure their children and future generations would survive and have a better life. As Moti prepared his Grandmother’s cake from ingredients in Mason jars, it reminded me of standing in my own Grandmother’s kitchen watching her cook many of the specialties I watched her prepare with nary a measuring spoon or cup in sight. Ultimately, Moti’s story honors a dark era now almost forgotten that needs to be remembered since the anti-Semitism which caused it appears to be returning once again. #NeverForget
JUNE 13, 2019 HAINES HIS WAY.COM
Writer/actor Moti Buchboot’s Hungarian grandmother died in 1995. It was not until 2006 when he got five pieces of paper with background information from the Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Center that he learned what his Savta lived through during World War II. She rarely spoke of it to her family after she resettled in Israel. Buchboot had wanted to do something with his grandmother’s story but he did not know how to approach it or have an intense need to do it until the White Supremacist/Nazi march in Charlottesville in 2017.
The result is the current World Premiere of his one-man show Five Pieces of Paper at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Buchboot tells the story of his grandmother, a baker, who always had a sweet for him, to his father’s consternation. He tells the story through words and songs—including “My Yiddishe Momme”—using costumes, slides, newsreels and puppets. While telling her story, Buchboot also bakes (on a hot plate) Savta’s Chocolate Coconut Cake. The recipe is included in the program but the smell of the baking chocolate has the audience salivating in their seats. Luckily they each receive a piece at the show’s conclusion.
Five Pieces of Paper is a heartfelt love letter from a grandson to a grandmother who for the most part remained a mystery to him as a young boy. His show needs more moments like the puppet Savta telling of some of the atrocities she witnessed at Auschwitz. Even though it is depressing to hear and many others have told similar tales, Savta’s Hungarian experience has not been as overexposed. Even though the Hungarian government did not deport their Jews until they were actually invaded by the Germans in 1944, of nearly 40 family members only Savta and one brother survived the Holocaust. Less props and costumes (at one point Buchboot dons motorcycle goggles and glasses as shown in a photo of one of his grandfathers but he keeps them on for barely a moment) and more stories, or baked goods and recipes.