“There are some topics in which you hope plays conquer correctly. Topics that include dark parts of history such as the holocaust sit at the top of that list. Luckily, Alix Sobler’s remarkable script and Theater J’s impressive production of Sheltered, honors the topic, the people, and the story.
“It is important stories like Sheltered that move audiences to their core. The importance of these stories lies in its ability to teach generations of folks that these events did happen and a play such as this one is even more important because it honors heroes like Evelyn and Leonard Kirsch. On another note, we are reminded: “Never Again.””
DC Metro Arts (John Stoltenberg)
“A gathering stormcloud looms over this exquisitely wrought play by Alix Sobler…in the fraught space between our knowing and the characters’ not knowing, Sheltered at Theater J engages the very moral fiber of our being.
“Sobler has brilliantly structured the play around two climactic persuasion scenes. One of them anchors Act One and the other anchors Act Two. Significantly, both of those scenes happen between women, with the men out of the room.
“This play hits so close to home this moment in America, it gives one chills. For we cannot know how darkling the sky could yet become.”
DC Metro Arts (Barbara MacKay)
Sobler’s gifts as a playwright allow her to suggest a very accurate portrait of Vienna in 1939, where the city had been under Hitler’s rule for twelve months and had been transformed from a world-famous, sophisticated city into a garish public relations center for Nazi rule. But Sobler’s greatest gift is for making her five characters credible in that setting.
Sheltered is a marvelous story of hope and the importance of taking a moral stance in life. In the suspense that runs through the play, but particularly in Act Two, Sobler demonstrates her ability to use language as an instrument of friendship, negotiation, and resistance.
The fact that Sheltered is based on a true story only enhances its impact. In 1939, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus went to Germany and brought back home to Philadelphia fifty children, most likely saving them from death. You don’t need to know that, but it’s comforting to realize that Sheltered is not just well-meaning fiction, or a well-made play. Something like it was also fact in 1939.”
“The play takes us on a journey that is substantial and, in key moments, very moving.
“The play’s concerns are all too resonant at a time of anti-immigrant sentiment, family separations and anti-Semitic hate crimes. “
Washington Post Preview article – Against a backdrop of Nazism, ‘Sheltered’ looks at the problem of good, not evil