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‘The Flights of Jan Wiener’ honors Holocaust hero

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August 15, 2012

Georgia College student actors will give an inspiring performance about Czech Republic hero and Holocaust survivor JanTheatre majors Zack Bradford and Jordan Hale act out Czech hero Jan Wiener becoming a navigator for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force during World War II.Theatre majors Zack Bradford and Jordan Hale act out Czech hero Jan Wiener becoming a navigator for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force during World War II. Wiener during “The Flights of Jan Wiener.”

Jan WienerJan WienerThe Thursday, Aug. 23, performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Campus Black Box Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

The performance is the first show to kick off the Georgia College Department of Theatre season themed “Literacy, Lifelong Learning and Leading.”

“The play coincides with this year’s theme,” said Dr. Karen Berman, chair of Georgia College Department of Theatre. “Wiener overcame the Holocaust and imprisonment under Communism to become a history professor. His lifelong quest to see his country as a democracy finally was achieved before his death.”

“The Flights of Jan Wiener” explores political issues surrounding the legacy of Wiener who lived from 1920 to 2010. He escaped Nazi occupation and fought for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force during World War II.

Nine theatre students traveled to the Czech Republic and performed the play during the summer’s annual European Regional Theatre Festival — Central Europe’s largest international festival featuring 200 performances in plays, concerts, exhibitions and workshops.

The actors performed for hundreds of audience members, including Wiener’s widow, Zuzana Wiener.

The play stretches the actors physically as they use their bodies to create a British bomber plane and barbed wire fence.

“At one point I’m upside down for several minutes to create the back of the plane,” said Amy Carpenter, Georgia College senior theatre major playing Wiener’s stepmother, Eva Wiener. “The play has really taken a new meaning since meeting Zuzana. When she gave us firsthand accounts of the events we portray on stage, everything we do and say has more weight now.”

For more information about this play, call 478-445-1980.

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.