PAPERS, PLEASE: A 20th CENTURY ODYSSEY 

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Exhibit

Several items eventually included in the curated Two Pianos companion Exhibit previously were featured in "Jewish Life in Leipzig until 1933," a Leipzig exhibit co-sponsored by the Leo Baeck Institute of New York and the German State Library (Leipzig) from June 28-Sept 30, 2015.


The Exhibit goes beyond Two Pianos' story line by documenting in vivid day-to-day detail how our main characters traversed fate, luck and obstacles to secure identity papers, visas, passports and eventual U.S. citizenship in an increasingly hostile world. Their paths exemplify the journeys of waves of immigrant risk-takers then dreaming -- and dreaming now -- of better shores.  How and why they decide to stay or go are explored against historical context and their interactions with a Who’s Who cast, reflecting tensions between hopes and reality, assimilation and Jewish identity, exiles and their hoped-for destinations.


The portable Exhibit was designed to accompany live Two Pianos performances.  However, it also is stand-alone and can accompany screened (non-live) Two Pianos performances or be tailored to the interests and configuration of sponsor sites or audiences, whether general-background or focused on specific topics such as life in Weimar Germany, the Third Reich, or British Mandate Palestine; 'adult adoption' of Jews by German Christians; the Siege of Leningrad (1941-1944); the global shift towards closed national borders during the Nineteen Thirties; or the shifts in classical music which echoed revolutions, rising nationalism, and emigre displacement during those times.


Potential Exhibit materials include: 


o Ten 7' standing illustrated pop-up story panels that set the scene, unspool a succinct narrative, and can serve as signposts for exhibit cases or other materials.


o Digitized audio selections from approximately 60 hours of 90-minute first-person interviews recorded 1979-1985, and from radio broadcasts or other recordings of performances by our main characters.


o Repeating loops of Two Pianos highlights videos or other audio-visuals, displayed on tabletop e-notebooks.


o Curated exhibit items with museum-quality descriptions whose scope may be expansive or focused, and may include the characters' personal  books, sheet music, household items, period luggage, concert posters and programs, newspaper concert reviews (translated and original), photos, correspondence, official travel documents, or mementos.


More information on the Exhibit is here and here. 


Three of the pop-up standing-poster heading banners that help tell our story are below.