George Tabori’s ‘My Mother’s Courage’

Tuesday, May 10 — Sunday, May 15, 2022

Non-GC Location (see description for details)

Open to the Public

Based on the true story of legendary theatre artist George Tabori’s memoir of his Jewish mother, who miraculously—and in a great act of personal courage—managed to escape deportation in 1944. Presented at Torn Page NYC in Chelsea.

 New York actor Laura Esterman (Mother) and German actor Thomas Bockelmann (Son) pictured on stage during a performance of My Mother's Courage
Admission Price

Donation-based ($22-33 suggested) - pay what you wish depending on your income.


Reserve via Eventbrite
Tickets must be reserved one at a time.

Performance Dates

Eight performances only:
May 10, 11, 12 and 15, 7:00 p.m.
May 13 and 14, 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.


Torn Page, Chelsea
435 W 22nd St at 9th Ave
New York, NY


70 minutes (plus post-show discussion)

Presented in English

Based on the true story of legendary theatre artist George Tabori’s memoir of his Jewish mother, who miraculously—and in a great act of personal courage—managed to escape deportation in 1944. Elsa, a 55-year-old unwavering Hungarian Jew had remained in Budapest to care for her asthmatic sister after her husband had been incarcerated and her sons had left the country. Finally Else is detained and sent to the rail yard to be deported to Auschwitz—until she confronts a Nazi official and manages to obtain her release. Tabori, a collaborator of Brecht and Hitchcock, is best known for Brecht on Brecht (1961) and The Cannibals (1969). In My Mother’s Courage Tabori subverted traditional narrative form while deconstructing conventional notions of heroism. ​Each performance will be followed by noodles, goulash and a discussion with guests and/or ensemble.​

“The negotiations of truth is worked out with laconic wit, but above all serves to make the horror behind the story bearable. This production is wonderful – precise, tender, touching. Big applause.​” Anja Witzke​, Theatre Critic, Germany

With New York actor Laura Esterman (Mother) and German actor Thomas Bockelmann (Son). New York adaptation for two actors by Thomas Bockelmann, based on the translation by Jack Zipes. Performed in English. Bockelmann was the artistic director of the Staatstheater Kassel for 17 years and performed in Tabori’s My Mother’s Courage all over Germany for decades.

Presented in collaboration with Staatstheater Kassel (Germany), Torn Page (United States), and Synagogue Center Felsberg (Germany). A full production of the play is scheduled to open in 2022 at Torn Page in Chelsea, New York City. An early reading was part of National Jewish Theater Foundation NJTF Holocaust Theater International Initiative on Holocaust Remembrance Day. ​

Photo courtesy of  Staatstheater Kassel; Sigrun Schneider-Kaethner & Thomas Bockelmann.


Originally founded in 1979 as the Center for Advanced Studies in Theatre Arts (CASTA), The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center was renamed in March of 1999 to recognize Martin E. Segal, one of New York City’s outstanding leaders of the arts. The Segal Center curates over thirty events throughout the Spring and Fall academic seasons, all free and open to the public. Dedicated to bridging the gap between the professional and academic theatre communities, the Segal Center presents readings, performance, lectures, and artists and academics in conversation. In addition, the Segal Center presents three annual festivals (PRELUDE, PEN World Voices: International Pay Festival, and The Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance) and publishes and maintains three open access online journals (Arab Stages, European Stages, and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre). The Segal Center also publishes many volumes of plays in translation and is the leading publisher of plays from the Arab world. The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a vital component of the Theatre Program’s academic culture and creating in close collaboration a research nexus, focusing on dramaturgy, new media, and global theatre. The Segal Center provides an intimate platform where both artists and theatre professionals can actively participate with audiences to advance awareness and appreciation.


Executive Director: Frank Hentschker

Associate Producers: Andie Lerner & Tanvi Shah