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Nothing is maudlin or tear-jerking about Etty, the hour-long one-woman piece that Susan Stein is performing with panache at the Fringe; indeed, the entire smart script, full of insight, is from Hillesum's own words, in letters she wrote and a diary she kept, Anne Frank-style.

Unlike Frank, Hillesum did not hide. She was able to protect herself and her family, for some time, by working for the Jewish Council - the Nazi-run bureaucracy that registered Jews for deportation and, ultimately, death.

This horrible irony was hardly lost on Hillesum, who tells us she is on a shipwreck, saving one's self by pushing others into the water … her story of the years between the Netherlands' takeover by the Nazis and her own climb aboard the train to her death is by turns chilling and enthralling.

Stein's spot-on performance clearly honors both her subject and anyone who has died at hatred's hellish hands.

Howard Shapiro. Fringe's 'ETTY' delves into horrors of Nazism.. The Philadelphia Inquirer - Daily Magazine. 2010-Sep-04.

Actor/writer Susan Stein has culled through and adapted Etty Hillesum’s writings, resulting in a powerful and moving 60 minutes in which Stein portrays Etty, demonstrating her yearnings, her fears, her intimate relationship with God, …

Susan Stein’s performance, under the direction of noted actor, director, and teacher Austin Pendleton, is impeccable. Wearing a simple black dress replete with golden stars, one can’t help but believe that she is Etty. The language of the play is simple but poetic, with lines such as I am not afraid to look suffering straight in the eyes, and In what sort of fatal mechanism have we become enmeshed.

In the present production, as part of the 11th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival and playing at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre, the site is nigh perfect. It is a small, intimate space, with an almost pressure-cooker quality, except for the lightness and grace that Stein brings to the performance.

Diana Barth. Theater Review: 'Etty'.. The Epoch Times. 2010-Jul-20.

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