Once Upon a Time [Il était une fois]


Once Upon A Time represents the essence of Jewish despair and hope, shown through a desperate rebellion against tyranny. In a ghetto on the brink of destruction, a Nazi commander randomly picks three Jews out of a crowd, giving one of them the inhuman responsibility of choosing which of the other two to kill. Daniel, a young, innocent man, is now faced with the incredible task of sealing the fate of one of his fellow Jews. Will he be prepared to sacrifice one of his brothers for the good of the community, or will he choose to rebel against his oppressors which would destroy the ghetto itself? Who will survive, then, to tell the tale?
Format: One-act drama
Cast Size: 9M/5F
Character breakdown

The Witness
Nazi Commander
The Night Watcher
2 Orphans
Dov Ber
Woman in the ghetto
Boy and Girl in the ghetto



Elie Wiesel moved to New York City in 1955 and subsequently became an American citizen. In the U.S. he wrote over 40 books and won many literary prizes. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression and racism.

Original or Prominent Production: Tsai Performance Center at Boston University, December 10, 2007.
Nationality of Author:
Original Language: French
English Language Translator: Guila Clara Kessous

Originally published in Entre Deux Soleils (1970).

Production Rights Holder:

Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity

Experience(s) Chronicled:

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