Arundel Players bringing Kindertransport to the stage
Director Gill explains: “Although English, Diane Samuels is of Jewish descent and Kindertransport is her seminal play inspired by the British offer in 1938 to provide German Jewish children the opportunity of a safe life in Britain albeit without their parents. The difficult and emotional decision is taken by Helga and Werner Schlesinger to send their nine-year-old daughter Eva to England. When Eva, a bright, lively and intelligent child, arrives in London she is fostered by the kindly Lil. We follow her life, learning about and settling into a new world, making friends and establishing a happy childhood whilst doing her utmost to maintain her links with her family and her hopes and plans for them to be reunited. Alongside this story, in 1980 we meet Faith a young woman who is about to leave home to live her adult life and is busy sorting and clearing through old family possessions deciding what might be useful to take with her. Helping her with this are her mother Evelyn and her grandmother. What she discovers in her rummaging has enormous and unforeseen impact on the relationships of the women, as all of the turmoil, trauma, love and conflict that resulted from such well meaning beginnings come to light.
“Often appearing on the exam syllabus, Kindertransport offers a wealth of material about life for German Jews prior to and during WW2 and the emotional impact of childhood trauma on survivors in later life. It is a beautifully written and observed play that is an emotional, intriguing and enjoyable evening of entertainment and an important work resulting from Samuel's many interviews with Kindertransport survivors. It remains totally relevant today when war continues to affect people in countries around the world faced with agonising decisions to keep their children safe and give them the future they deserve.”
The production is at The Priory Playhouse, London Road, Arundel, BN18 9FA from Monday to Saturday, June 19-24; box office 07523 417926 or www.ticketsource.co.uk/arundelplayers.