Win tickets to Visalia production of ‘Janka’

For many in the local arts community, Janice Noga has become synonymous with the name “Janka.” The Fresno actress for more than a decade has been perfecting her role in the one-woman show about her mother-in-law, Janka Festinger Speace, who survived a Nazi concentration camp. Noga’s husband, Oscar Speace, wrote the play about his mother using original source materials, and the pair have toured with it across the nation and around the world. In 2015, I got the opportunity to follow “Janka” to New York City, where Noga and Speace fulfilled a lifelong dream of having the play produced in the nation’s theater capital with a professional director and designers.

janka poster

Now’s your chance to see the newest version of the play — which was extensively reworked in its off off Broadway run — in the central San Joaquin Valley. It will be performed in Visalia and Fresno. You can even win free tickets.

In this post I’m giving away two pairs of tickets to the 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, performance at The 210 Performance Space (210 W. Center St., Visalia). This performance is presented by The Janka Project and the California Holocaust Education & Resource Center. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post explaining why you’d like to see the show. Deadline to enter is 9 a.m. Thursday.

Another performance is planned a few weeks after that: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the 2nd Space Theatre. (Be on the lookout for free tickets for that, too.)

I wrote extensively about the “Janka” production through the years for the Fresno Bee. One reason her story was so compelling is that theater lovers in the central San Joaquin Valley helped raise money (through a partnership with the Fresno Arts Council) to send the show to New York. A relatively few number of people got to see that New York production, however. This time you won’t have to buy a plane ticket.


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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (3)

  • Stephen

    Please do not select me for tickets for this, as I cannot attend.

    Just wanted to comment and say thank you to both you for following this story and for Janice Noga’s passion and dedication for this important project. As a child the older generation made certain to share the stories of the holocaust and camps with us young Jews. The idea, of course, was to ensure we knew the history so we wouldn’t repeat it.

    More than ever we need “Janka” to be performed, to provide the aching human side of political conflict, conquest, and chilling disregard for human life.

    When Janka first cams out, I had previously worked some with Oscar Speace (a wonderful man) and I got to see a very early iteration of the piece. Janice put all her life into that role. I can only imagine how she’s grown it since, but as talented as she is, I’m certain it’s wonderful.

  • Linda Nielsen

    I have a friend that saw the show and said she enjoyed it very much. Janice is from Hanford and so am I.

  • Linda Heinrich

    When my husband was stationed with the Army, and we lived in Germany for 3 years, I had the opportunity to go to Auschwitz Dachau. I really wanted to go, until we were warned that you could still smell the human remains. Emotionally, I didn’t feel like I could handle it, so, I didn’t go, so am looking forward to see this play. So proud that Janice (and her twin sister, Joyce), was both of my teachers at Hanford High School.


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