This is what viewers who have seen the show during the world premiere at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe theater festival said:
Claire B: I especially liked the singing, which took me off-guard with its emotional impact.The show is in many ways about finding meaning and faith in the face of unfathomable atrocity as Moti remembers his maternal grandmother’s unqualified love and, at the same time, confronts and copes with a short but horrifying written record she left about the Holocaust and her internment at Auschwitz. The show is multi-media: still photos, historical footage, monologues, puppetry, song, dramatization, and even baking. Moti takes the audience with him as he unsparingly probes the brutality of family separation, mass murder, and survival—and the way the trauma also impacts further generations of a family. I think it would be a misconception to claim that Moti (and the audience, through him) comes to peace with a history that can never really be resolved, but, instead, there is an expansion of the soul and a widening embrace of love despite the horror.
Jamie R: What is remarkable about this show is the juxtaposition of humor and pathos Buchboot uses to tell this shattering tale of his Grandmother’s experiences during the holocaust. There is a section where he employs a puppet to give a first person narrative about the horrors of Auschwitz that exemplifies Buchboot’s (and co-director Martha Gehman’s) mastery of this delicate dance of tragedy and comedy that left the audience (particularly me) in tears . He intersperses the performance with Yiddish songs sung “a cappella” in a beautifully clear and honest tenor. Through all of this he cooks an actual chocolate cake on a working stove which he shares with the audience after the performance that shows indeed that sweetness can emerge even from life’s most unimaginable tragedy and loss. What a beautiful theatrical experience. Moti Buchboot is funny, warm, and stunningly authentic as he lays his heart and soul on the stage while telling this heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting tale of his Grandmother and her experiences in the holocaust.
Natalia N: Everything was brilliant, so well illustrated, visual, engaging every sense – from the moving cards, voice on the old mic, the scent of the baking cake to even having the audience throwing candy… Emotional singing and very well and tastefully used puppets. The balance in telling a very sad story in a beautiful and not overwhelming way was fully achieved. I LOVED every minute of it. Profoundly deep and touching. Would love to see it over an over; it deserves a big stage. A must see for everyone, no matter of age and religion. And you get a piece of the best chocolate cake on Earth at the end! (Seriously.)
Branden S:This one man play was a creative combination of stories and modes of telling them, each part personal and heartfelt in its presentation. I was moved by the actor’s singing and song selection, as well as his portrayal of such pain and wrong experienced and the strength of his grandmother through it. Thank you Moti for sharing your precious grandmother with us all!
DENIS J: Moti enveloped all my senses including multiple audience participation, placing me right in grandmas kitchen with wafts of sweet aroma, visual stimuli of horror, songs that touched my soul, comedy to keep the evening light, the taste of warm cake, not just “cake” but “Her” cake, feeling chills of a deplorable acts and tears for this most beautiful women who endured unimaginable suffering yet with healing, blossomed once again to what they “could not take”. Thank you Moti for more than an evening of entertainment but for sharing your difficult personal story with a full heart and soul pouring your creative energy requiring untold hours of preparation into what needed to come out, needed to be expressed in a tangible way that we, the audience, needed to hear… In an intimate atmosphere I experienced an utterly impressive choreography of multiple disciplines engaging me to be fully enveloped, transported, moved, through the entire length of the play depicting enduring love, passion, hate, depravity, forgiveness, acceptance, and forever remembering…
Amanda L: Moti is telling a true story of a horrible time that his loved one went through. He adds in humorous anecdotes from his childhood and uses puppets to tell the worst parts, which lightens the heaviness, but only barely. You really can see from a Holocaust survivor’s view through his story-telling. I also liked how he baked a cake through the course of the show and offered it and wine afterwards. This wasn’t a “show” it was the telling of a story. An important story that needs to be told so it is not forgotten.
Karin C: Moti’s ease with the audience; his lovely acapella singing of classic Jewish and Yiddish songs; the pertinent footage he screens; his use of a ludicrous puppet to represent the tougher parts of the play … and the baking. Moti’s charmingly ramshackle style (including the baking of an outrageously delicious cake during the course of the show — which the audience samples after!) lulls you into such a comfortable and warmly nostalgic place that when he delivers the play’s devastating punches (there are a few) it takes your breath away.
Mona H: Profoundly stirring storytelling woven together through emotive song, powerful imagery, and delightfully effective puppetry and role-playing. Impressive multi-tasking—baking a delicious cake throughout entire performance! BRAVO, Moti!!! Beautifully courageous and authentic performance. I laughed, I cried, and I was deeply moved. What a true honor it was to bear witness. THANK YOU for this very important, compelling work.
Victor G: He cleverly introduces diversions, including puppetry and baking, to make it possible for the audience to cope emotionally. His performance in all the roles and his singing are amazing.An original and powerful ode to Moti’s grandmother, who experienced the horrors of Auschwitz, and later played a loving role in his life.
Lisa S: Moti turned a one-man show into a full cast of characters with costumes and puppets, and took us on journeys to many places with a simple cart and a few props. His singing of songs he learned from his grandma was like a lullaby. His use of puppets and humorous personal stories, after stories of intense human suffering during the Holocaust, effectively lightened the mood in a way that was aligned with the overall depiction of grandma.It was touching, thought provoking and entertaining. It went beyond expectations.A creative tapestry of stories skillfully weaving together personal and world history over past and present. Moti’s impressive display of many talents, from singing to baking for the audience while storytelling is a lively and entertaining way to bring his grandma’s life of love, resilience, and playfulness to light as an inspiring gift to us all.