A body, dressed in an old-fashioned suit, stirs on a dimly lit stage. Slowly, as if long out of the habit, he straightens himself up. He dusts his newly-wakened limbs off as he rises, pouring sawdust from his sleeves and shaking more from his pant legs. Around him, six other figures begin to rise from the dust, all as if waking from a long sleep.
The first man introduces himself as Lemml, the stage manager of their theatre troupe. He introduces the six actors who will perform all the roles in the story to come: Vera Parnicki and Otto Godowski, founding members of the troupe; Halina Cygansky and Mendel Schult, “who are in their prime”; the ingenues Chana Mandelbaum and Avram Zederbaum; violinist Nelly Friedman; clarinetist Mayer Balsam; and accordionist Moriz Godwosky. “We have a story we want to tell you,” Lemml explains, About a play. A play that changed my life. Every night we tell this story—but somehow I can never remember the end.” He can always remember the beginning, though.
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