Kindertransport

27/03/18

BY DIANE SAMUELS
In English, with German surtitles


In November 1938 in reaction to the "Kristallnacht", the growing violence against Jews, Social Democrats and Bolsheviks and the rising Nazi threat, the British government made available permits for children - and only children - from Germany, Austria and other Nazi-occupied territories in Europe to enter the UK safely. Before World War II erupted, nearly 10.000 youngsters, most of them Jewish, had made it to England.

To mark the 80th anniversary of that rescue operation - which became known as the "Kindertransport" - the Théâtres de la Ville are embarking on an international collaboration to produce Diane Samuels' play inspired by those events. Anne Simon will direct a mixed cast and work with an international team on a production that is set to be performed in the UK and in Luxembourg. Kindertransport approaches the experience of surviving the Holocaust from the unusual perspective of a child who thankfully escapes its horrors but pays a heavy price long after it is over.

Tagged like a piece of luggage, Eva Schlesinger leaves her mother in Hamburg and travels to England, where the well-meaning Lil takes over her upbringing. Little by little, the distraught child grows into a reserved young woman. Her accent fades. And so, presumably, do the old traumas but also her connection with her roots. As a result, she finds a way to cope that redefines her sense of self and creates a new identity. These processes profoundly affect the relationships between all the women in the play. When her own daughter, Faith, preparing to move out of the family home, discovers a box carefully tucked away in the attic, she uncovers links to Eva Schlesinger from all those years before.

With its profound drama of separation, cultural and linguistic dislocation, painful loss of one family then formation of another, and with its attendant sense of betrayal and guilt, Kindertransport draws a simple yet truthful portrait of one child in one time that easily expands to many similar experiences across history. It is even more relevant today than ever.

» The play is not about the Holocaust, not a history play at all. It explores the question of how human beings survive after they have suffered deep emotional trauma and how the damage caused is passed onto the following generation. Also, at its heart, the play is about that universal and timeless aspect of human experience: the separation of a child from its parent. Every person on earth, whatever their age, can relate to that. Diane Samuels, May 1999

» Refugees and displaced persons, unlike migrants, are not dreaming of different lives. They are usually ordinary people - "innocent civilians" in the language of diplomats - going about their lives as farmers or students or housewives until their fates are violently altered by repression or war. (...) They become people on the run, faces on television footage or in photographs, numbers in refugee camps, long lines awaiting food handouts. It is a cruel contract: in exchange for survival, they must surrender their dignity. They are also rarely able to put their lives together again, or at least not as before. Some become permanent refugees, permanent camp-dwellers, like the Palestinians in Lebanon. (...) Some can go home, but choose not to, having built alternative lives that offer more security. Others who do eventually return to their countries have become different people, perhaps more politicized, certainly more urbanized. But no matter what their final destination is, all are forced to live with what they have learned about human nature. They have seen friends and relatives tortured, murdered, or "disappeared", they have cowered in basements as their towns have been shelled, they have seen their homes burned to the ground. (...) All too often, refugees have little say in the political, ethnic, or religious conflicts that degrade into atrocities. How can they be consoled when they have seen humanity at its worst? Nieman Reports, Migrations : The Story of Humanity on the Move, An Essay in Words and Photographs, article by Sebastiao Salgado

» [Anne] Simon creates lovely and visually interesting stage pictures, lifting the dialogue and highlighting the strange dynamics that develop between the characters. Luxemburger Wort, Erik Abott on Love and Understanding




Directed by Anne Simon Cast to be confirmed
Co-production Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg & Queen's Theatre Hornchurch
In association with Selladoor ProductionsMardi 27  MARS 2018 Ă  20h00 (tickets)
Mercredi 28 MARS 2018 Ă  20h00 (tickets)
Vendredi 30 MARS 2018 Ă  20h00 (tickets)
Samedi 31 MARS 2018 Ă  20h00 (tickets)
DURÉE inconnue, spectacle en création Introduction to the play by Janine Goedert at 7.30pm before every performance (in English)
Adultes 20 €, 15 €, 8 € / Jeunes 8 € / Kulturpass bienvenu
Lieu: Théâtre des Capucins