All the best stories are told in the kitchen — even the darkest ones. Think of Hélène Cixous’ “Oy!,” now at the Actors' Gang, as the rise and fall of the Third Reich as told by your eccentric aunts, who happen to be whipping up liver pâté and a little gossip.
Octogenarian sisters Selma (Mary Eileen O’Donnell) and Jenny (Jeanette Horn) have just returned from their hometown in Germany, where they were asked to speak about the Nazi era. Cooking up some nosh, they admit to each other that they didn’t exactly tell the whole truth in public.
Cixous, an icon of feminist theory, wants to take us out of the museums and even the camps, to shake up our dutifully received ideas about the Holocaust.
“Oy!” is an offhand conversation about the unspeakable, sharply performed by two engaging actresses. In the politically correct version of anti-Semitism, categories of victim and victimizer are distinct.
These sisters suggest something muddier, more unsettling. Long before 1933, teenage Jenny’s nose job was mocked in the town newspaper. And when Polish Jews escaping pogroms sought shelter with their German brethren, “we gave them train tickets the next town,” deadpans Selma.