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Bérénice 1934–44: An Actress in Occupied Paris

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis St San Francisco, CA, 94115 (map)

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce St between Ellis and Eddy streets.


Reading by Danielle Levin, followed by conversation with translators Renée Morel and Zack Rogow.

The winner of nine French literary awards, Isabelle Stibbe’s debut novel charts the rise of fascism in Europe and political tensions in France, as well as the eventual exclusion of Jews from the Comédie-Française, France’s most renowned theater. In 1934, Bérénice Capet, a young Jewish woman, enters a competition for admission to the Conservatory of the Comédie-Française, despite the objections of her parents. When Bérénice finishes first in the auditions, her father forbids her to enter the Conservatory. A patron of the arts takes her in and lends her last name to her, so that no one in the theater world knows that Bérénice is Jewish.

Actress Danielle Levin has performed with Marin Theatre Company (August: Osage County; My Name is Asher Lev; Said Saïd), CentralWorks (Robert Louis Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde), Shotgun Players (strangers, babies; Vera Wilde), and Crowded Fire (Anna Bella Eema), among others. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, Danielle is an associate artist with Symmetry Theatre Company, whose mission is to bring awareness of the need for “gender balance on the boards.”

Renée Morel is a translator, native French speaker, and adjunct professor of French at City College of San Francisco. She lectures throughout the Bay Area on French culture, art, and civilization. Her other translations include Shipwrecked on a Traffic Island and Other Previously Untranslated Gems by Colette, also with Zack Rogow.

Zack Rogow’s translations from French include works by Colette, George Sand, André Breton, and Marcel Pagnol. He received the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award and the Northern California Book Reviewers Award in Translation. He is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays.

Co-presented by the JFCS Holocaust Center of Northern California.

Program mace possible, in part, by Dr. Sandra Cohen in memory of Dr. Richard Cohen.