St. Clair Productions, in conjunction with Havurah Shir Hadash, will present Shelly Mitchell's "Talking With Angels," a one-woman play based on the journals of Hungarian Gitta Mallasz, who, together with her three Jewish friends Hanna Dallos, Joseph and his wife Lili, received messages from higher beings during the Holocaust in Budapest.




"Talking With Angels" is being performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Havurah Shir Hadash, 185 N. Mountain Avenue, Ashland.




On June 25, 1943, Mallasz and her companions received the first of 88 dialogues from beings they called Angels. Mallasz wrote down the Angel's words, spoken through Hanna, who said that she was filled with a bright light, but there was nothing joyous about it.




The friends had been deeply disturbed by the increasing numbers of arrests during the period of political tension and terror as the Nazis swept across Hungary, capturing and deporting Jews.




Joseph was deported to a concentration camp, prompting Mallasz to search for a way to save Hanna and Lili from a similar fate. An influential friend told her of a secret plan to save 100 Jewish women and children by setting up a factory in a vacant cloister in Buda. Mallasz became commander and her two friends workers.




On Dec. 2, 1944, Hungarian Nazis stormed the gates of the cloister. Mallasz escaped. Lili and Hannah were sent to the concentration camp, where they later died.




Hanna had often told Mallasz that, of all of them, she must survive and give the dialogues to the world. In 1960, Mallasz moved to Paris, married and translated the dialogues from Hungarian into French.




The dialogues were published in Paris in 1976 as "Dialogues avec l'Ange." In 1988, they were published in English. Mallasz died in 1992.




Mitchell first adapted Mallasz' "Talking With Angels" as a one-act play for the 1999 San Francisco Fringe Theater Festival. After winning "Best of the Festival," Mitchell performed the play at San Francisco's Magic Theater in 2000.




Encouraged by the overwhelmingly emotional and positive audience response, Mitchell scheduled five showcase performances starting Sept. 19, 2001, in New York City.




After the tragedy that occurred on Sept. 11, "Talking With Angels" opened as scheduled at the Milagro Theater on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The show sold out and was invited back to New York City in May 2002.




Since then Mitchell has performed "Talking With Angels" more than 200 times at various theatres on both the East and West Coast and in Ireland at the Dublin International Theatre Festival.




Mitchell was nominated as best solo performer by the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle in 1999. She trained in New York City with Lee Strasberg and is a graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School. Mitchell is the artistic director of The Actors Center of San Francisco, where she teaches film and theater acting.




Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door and $10 for youth 12 to 17. Tickets are available at the Music Coop in the A Street Marketpace, online at or by calling 535-3562.