Daytona, written by Oliver Cotton; produced by John Perrin Flynn, and directed by Elina de Santos, is a story of three Holocaust survivors, exquisitely played by Richard Fancy, Sharron Shayne, and George Wyner, whose lives intertwine amidst many twists and turns of plot. Billy (Fancy) goes to live in Daytona Beach, Florida, to far remove himself from the horrors, traumas, and catastrophic events that he faced during the war. Flash forward to Brooklyn, New York, winter of 1986, circa thirty years post war. Billy, unannounced, knocks at the door of his brother Joe (Wyner), and sister in law/ former lover Elli (Shayne), only to confess the unspeakable act of murdering a former vicious Nazi guard, whom he, without a doubt, recognized in Daytona, who had taken on a new identity, albeit never forgotten by a survivor’s eye witness memory . He pleads his case to family and implores their help. He said he could not control his impulse or rage, and the only answer was to kill him, in the name of divine retribution, as it were. One memorable line of dialogue, “I didn’t want him in jail; I wanted him dead.” Now in the bitter cold of New York winter, Billy still dons his tropical Hawaiian garb, and old nostalgic sparks fly and rekindle when seeing Elli once again. Joe is bewildered, as he has not seen nor heard from his long lost brother in 30 years. The subplot of an affair between his brother and wife is unbeknownst to him; they are both shocked to reunite with Billy under these circumstances. Billy magically wishes to make this situation ‘disappear,’ and to be absolved from all transgressions,apropos to the theme of the Yom Kippur holy day of atonement , which has just past. The brother and his wife reluctantly take mercy on Billy, yet insist that he turns himself into the authorities. This powerful, poignant play has messages one would be apt to hear in the Yom Kippur liturgy, including the idea of forgiveness and retribution. The timeliness of this production, during the 10 days of awe, personally resonated with me, and it is a very meaningful rendition of a theme found in many books and films, yet this one, now in theatrical form, is touching and beautifully written and performed.
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