Playwright Barbara Kahn has produced a new play based on the life of Eve Adams, the roaming bookseller who sold copies of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer to tourists in Paris cafés. I’ve written about Eve Adam’s role in Miller’s Paris life before.
In her previous play, The Spring and Fall of Eve Adams, Kahn examined Adams’ life as the operator of a Greenwich Village tearoom in the 1920′s, when she moved in the same circles as Henry and June Miller. A victim of homophobia, Adams was arrested and deported from the US for distributing “obscene” literature.
Marshaling new research, including US Deportation documents and information provided by Adams’ surviving family members, Kahn has produced Unreachable Eden which further explores Adam’s life in Paris following deportation and her death in a Nazi concentration camp.
Judging from the rehearsal photos above, the play appears to include both June and Henry Miller, and possibly Anaïs Nin as characters.
Unreachable Eden can be seen February 9 – 26, 2012 at the Theater for the New City in New York, NY (155 1st Ave. @ 10th St.). For show times and ticketing information, see the Theater for the New City web site.
Unreachable Eden is the story of Polish Jewish lesbian Eve Adams (born Chava Zloczower) who ran a tearoom on Macdougal Street in 1926, which catered to artists, writers and actors, both male and female. She was deported from the U.S. as an “undesirable alien” and spent the 1930’s in Paris, selling banned books to English-speaking tourists. Eve and her friends Henry and June Miller and Anaïs Nin enjoyed both café and nightlife in France, while in Germany the Nazi government was banning and burning books and implementing its war against Jews, homosexuals and others deemed “undesirable.” These parallel worlds collided during World War II, once again putting Eve in triple jeopardy as a Jew, a lesbian and an immigrant. Composer Arthur Abrams has mined the rich musical genres of 1930’s Europe to write a score that ranges from the popular tango to waltz to ethnic melodies.
Unreachable Eden is based on Eve Adams’ deportation file from the U.S. government as well as correspondence and photographs courtesy of her relatives.
…if I wanted to write my experiences of my wanderings and people and adventures, which still continue with every blessed day, it would take me years to write and I could fill volumes…
—Eve Adams, 1934
Eve’s first deportation in 1927 led ultimately to her second deportation, this time from France to Auschwitz in her native Poland. This courageous woman deserves to be rescued from forgotten history.
Barbara Kahn is a multi-award winning playwright, director and actor. She was recognized for lifetime achievement with the Torch of Hope Award, previously given to Terrence McNally, August Wilson, Horton Foote, Jane Alexander, Tony Randall and others. She has directed in New York, Paris and at the National Theatre in London.