Detroit Public Theatre has opened its ninth season with the critically acclaimed 2019 play “Eight Nights” by Jennifer Maisel, running through Nov. 5. The powerful and timely play follows the life of a Holocaust survivor, across the eight nights of Hanukkah over eight decades, from her first night in America after having been liberated from Dachau through to 2016 as she witnesses the treatment of Syrian refugees and the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election.


Over these eight decades her story intersects with the lives of other marginalized people whose stories mirror and contrast her own: African Americans during the Civil Rights movement, Japanese Americans living with the legacy of the internment camps, LGBTQ Americans, and Syrian refugees in the era of the Trump administration’s Muslim ban.

Eight Nights play at Detroit Public Theatre

A Detroit Public Theatre performance of “Eight Nights,” a play by Jennifer Maisel at the theater through November 5, 2023. | Photo by One Detroit

One Detroit’s Chris Jordan filmed the play and spoke to actress and DPT founder and producing artistic director Sarah Winkler, actor Henrí Franklin, and DPT founder and producing artistic director Courtney Burkett. The three spoke about how the play speaks to not only the Jewish experience but the experiences of refugees and marginalized communities of all types in a way that’s timelier than ever, showing people’s shared humanity despite their differences.

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