For her performance in the one-woman drama, Juliet, Deborah received the Best Actress Award at the Jerzy Grotowski Theatre Festival in Wrocław, Poland. The piece was written and directed by Omar Sangare. In 1999 Juliet was performed at The Red Room in New York City as part of the NY International Fringe Festival. Fed up with her man, Juliet speaks to us from her beloved balcony (“... at some point I must marry it.”). From her bird's eye view she regales the audience with the purpose of the balcony’s invention, the torments a woman endures in order not to be alone just as her mother taught her. The absurdity preached by t.v. shows and Hollywood films intrigue her. Her father who is sullenly silent never took her mother dancing. “...It is a grim story, performed with grace and intensity by Miss Latz.” — Jo Ann Rosen, Edge, NY 1999
One of Deborah’s most meaningful achievements as an actor was to play the role of Maria Koper in The Prisoner, a one-woman piece with cello. It is about Maria Koper, a Holocaust survivor of the Warsaw ghetto. Through the kindness and courage of a Christian Polish family Maria survived in a small wooden box in their barn for more than two years. The Prisoner is based on Henryk Grynberg’s, The Diary of Maria Koper (Koper’s diary is housed in the archives at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel), adapted and directed by Omar Sangare. In New York The Prisoner was presented through the collaboration of June Moon Productions with the Polish Cultural Institute in NYC at The Mazer Theater; made possible by June Moon Productions in 2002 Santa Barbara, CA at Center Stage Theater in the Lit Moon World Theater Festival, and in Los Angeles, CA at B’nai David-Judea to benefit One Family Fund and Atzum.
“Three months ago in a small New York City theater, Deborah Latz gave the world premiere of The Prisoner, a harrowing adaptation of a Holocaust survivor’s diary. At the post performance party, a 90 year old woman with deep lines in her face approached the actress. She introduced herself as a former resident of the Warsaw ghetto, the fenced-in neighborhood where the Nazis confined Polish Jews until they were transported to concentration camps. “She took my hands in hers, looked directly into my eyes and said quietly, over the din, ‘How did you know? How did you know?’” Latz recalled. “That comment made every soul-searching moment during rehearsals, every fight to get the production on its feet, all worth it.” — Tom Jacobs, artsScene (Santa Barbara, CA) 2002
In 2002 shortly after Lika Elbaum, the daughter of Maria Koper, saw The Prisoner in New York I received a package from her with a beautiful costume jewelry brooch that belonged to her mother. I was monumentally moved and display the brooch on my dresser to this day.
In 2022 I received an email from Lilka, “It has been 20 years since you performed "The Prisoner." I will always be immensely grateful that you brought my mother's story to the stage. I hope that you are well and continue in your craft.”
In May 2020 the documentary film Still Life in Lodz was released. It was written by Lilka Elbaum and directed by Slawomir Grunberg. The film documents the childhood apartment where Lilka and her family lived in Lodz, Poland. I wrote this to Lilka after watching her documentary:
“Seeing where you and your family lived in Lodz, hearing about the other families in the building and how your family came to live there has given me so much more insight into your mother’s story and of course, your story. The Chorazkiewicz farm section was completely fascinating and moving for me.
The film carries the very strong message that we cannot forget what happened. It is so important to learn about the three families' stories and to understand how integral it is for each of them and so many others to discover the details, to physically touch the walls, to walk the streets, to see the view from the window, and to continue to share this knowledge with the world.”
travels with ma own self
Travels With Ma Own Self written and performed by Deborah is an odyssey recalling Latz’ six month solo journey through Europe and parts of the Middle East in 1986 when she was twenty-six. Replete with a backpack weighing in at fifty pounds, long dirty blonde hair reaching her buttock, a hippie on the outside with a Victoria Secret flair underneath. At a local hot spring just outside of Haifa Deborah meets the three muses that set her on course. In Eilat, Israel on the border to Egypt, where she is camping alone on the beach she falls in love with Uli (later in her travels she reunites with Uli in Munich, Germany); with nowhere to sleep in Rome she finds kindness in Giovanni the night concierge at a boutique hotel, who invites her to sleep on the lobby couch before the owner returns; next day she meets Bruno who invites her to stay in the loft above his kitchen table but his ex-girlfriend Vittoria explodes onto the scene in a jealous fury; in Avignon, France Denis an artisan selling his wares at the festival invites Deborah to share his tent where she draws the line in the sand and remains safe; and most importantly she finds closure and peace regarding the deaths of her mother, June, her sister, Lynnie, and her Aunt Barbara. Deborah’s wondrous and poignant adventures are non-stop!
“Travels With Ma Own Self” a heavenly presentation by the stunning Deborah Latz, combines the performer's engaging knack for storytelling and delectable legit voice with Jeff Klitz at the keys and the stellar Karen Hansen on bass and trombone... This show is so well done that Latz could easily get booked for a long run at such venues as the Actors Playhouse and Second Stage with the right packaging...” — Andrew Martin, CaB Magazine NY 1992