David Strathairn returns to DC as heroic Holocaust witness Jan Karski

Coming to Gonda Theater at Georgetown May 12 to 22: his brilliant and all-too-timely portrayal of one man's moral courage amid the crimes of war.

Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski  hailed as “gripping” by The Washington Post, “spectacularly affecting” by DCMTA’s Sophia Howes, and “a brilliant and timely portrayal of an extraordinary man” by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour — tells the story of Jan Karski, a courier for the Polish Underground, who smuggled vital information and his own eyewitness reports of the destruction of the Jewish people to America and eventually the White House. The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University (The Lab) will present the play starring Academy Award–nominated actor David Strathairn May 12 to 22, 2022, at the Georgetown University Gonda Theater.

David Strathairn as Jan Karski in ‘Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski.’ Photo by Greg Reiner.

A tour-de-force solo performance by Strathairn, Remember This is a character study of the revered Holocaust witness, diplomat, activist, and Georgetown University professor who was imprisoned, tortured, and almost broken before becoming a hero to humanity. The production, written by Clark Young and Derek Goldman and directed by Derek Goldman, began its national tour at Shakespeare Theatre Company and Chicago Shakespeare Theater Company last fall. After its spring run in DC, it will tour internationally this summer before having its off-Broadway premiere in the fall.

“As Karski did, we are living through a time characterized by unprecedented challenges,” says award-winning Director Derek Goldman. “The example of Jan Karski speaks directly to our current moment, and he is an inspiring and timely account of the importance of individual responsibility and moral action in the face of hatred and injustice.”

David Strathairn as Jan Karski in ‘Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski.’ Photo by Greg Reiner.

Over the last six years of development, new aspects of Karski’s legacy have emerged as urgently relevant. Along with these performances, the co-authors created an educational platform and course alongside The Lab’s Inclusive Pedagogy Specialist Ijeoma Njaka. The course, entitled “Bearing Witness: The Legacy of Jan Karski Today,” is now in its second year at Georgetown University and the curriculum is engaging both undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines. This dynamic, experiential approach to learning uses the filmed theatrical production and archival clips and interviews with the extraordinary thinkers and leaders who have engaged with the play. It is the goal of the course to allow students to articulate their own applications of bearing witness in local, national, and global contexts, as they follow in Karski’s example to continue to “shake the conscience of the world.”

Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski plays May 12 through 22, 2022, presented by the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics performing at the Georgetown University Gonda Theater, 3700 O St. NW, Washington, DC. Tickets ($20–$55) and more information are available online. The May 12 and 13 performance are free previews for students. A special edition of the script will be on sale in the lobby.

Running Time: About 90 minutes, with no intermission.

COVID Safety: All patrons will need to provide proof of full vaccination and abide by Georgetown University’s COVID protocols, which currently require patrons to be masked. For the most up-to-date information on Georgetown University protocols, you can visit here.

About the Artists

David Strathairn (Jan Karski) Film credits include Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland (Academy Award for Best Picture, Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival); George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck (Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor); Spielberg’s Lincoln; John Sayles’s Matewan, Eight Men Out, and City of Hope; Doug Magee’s Beyond the Call. Theater credits include Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad, Underneath the Lintel by Glenn Berger, and Theater of War productions.

Derek Goldman (Writer and Director) is Chair of Georgetown University’s Department of Performing Arts, Director of the Theater & Performance Studies Program, and Co-Founding Director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics. His award-winning work has been at theaters such as Steppenwolf, Lincoln Center, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Folger, Round House, Everyman, Mosaic, Theater J, Synetic, the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theater, McCarter, Segal Center, and Olney Theater (where he is Artistic Associate). He is on the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group, Vice-President of UNESCO’s International Theatre Institute, Founding Director of the Global Network of Higher Education in the Performing Arts. Derek holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and recently received the President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers at Georgetown. Full bio.

Clark Young (Writer), a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn, co-created every iteration of Remember This from Warsaw and New York City to London and Washington, DC. Clark graduated from Georgetown University and received his Master’s from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he was recognized for academic excellence in the field of Performance Studies.

David Strathairn as Jan Karski in ‘Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski.’ Photo by Greg Reiner.

About the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics

The Lab humanizes global politics through performance. We cultivate a distinctive global community of collaborators that includes students, emerging and established artists, educators, policy leaders, and activists. Our work harnesses narrative, memory, and acts of witnessing with the aim of sparking transformation and change.

How to be a hero: The lesson of ‘Remember This’ at Shakespeare Theatre
column by Sophia Howes
A performance of magnitude and nuance: David Strathairn as Jan Karski review by Susan Galbraith
David Strathairn to star at STC as WWII resistance fighter Jan Karski interview feature by Alexandra Bowman
The Lab announces The Gathering, a four-day free theater festival at GU (news story about festival May 4 to 7, 2022)


  1. I’m so glad that this production is returning to Georgetown, where Karski himself actually taught for many years. Like Sophia and Susan, I saw it at the Shakespeare Theatre, I was blown away by both the story and by Straithorne’s performance, which was one of the most stunning I’ve ever seen.


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