Never Forget! Never Again!
In this one-hour poetic drama, a man, an American of German descent, looks back on his ancestral past and tries to make sense of it. He encounters embodiments of the Holocaust: a Nazi soldier, an elderly caretaker, a Jewish survivor, among others. A visitor into the collective unconscious, he takes us to places most of us would like to forget. This play about survival and cruelty is particularly relevant today when quests for power and the ease of prevarication and justification are rampant.
We are experiencing the polarization of America, along with the rise of anti-Semitism across the globe, resulting in an increase of attacks, verbal and physical, against Jews, Muslims, and immigrants. The testimonials for Distant Survivors speak to the power of theatre to deepen our understanding of “the Other” and create a spark towards dialogue and communion.
Man40’s: American of German descent; costume – jeans, shirt, and lightweight jacket
Caretaker: 50’s – 60’s Eastern European Jewish survivor; costume – work pants, shirt, and cap
NS: 30’s – 40’s; Nazi Soldier; costume – black pants, shirt, boots, and leather jacket and a Nazi helmet
Man 2: 60’s – 70’s; German Jewish survivor; costume – dark brown suit
Woman: 50’s – 60’s; Eastern European Jewish survivor; costume – long skirt, top, and shawl
From the Play
Place: Bremerhaven, Germany
Set: Stage R – a stool; Stage RC – a ladder; Stage C – a bench; Stage L – a small black platform (or black cubes)
Lighting: white and steely blue
Pre-set: on bench and dock area
House music: Eastern European folk music; begins about 10 minutes prior to starting time.
SCENE ONE: Bremerhaven
House music fades and house lights go out.
LIGHTS: The bench and dock area comes up to full. The Man enters from Stage R, moving toward platform area. He’s holding a map.
Canes and armless coats
haunt these German streets
I force myself to walk.
Factories smoke the sky….
A few days ago,
I saw those Bremerhaven graves.
honor our simpler dust.
I almost knelt to save
a leaf of ivy. I even heard
the dead were glad
that I’d returned.
Man climbs up onto the platform. He moves to its edge and looks out.
The line of WWI veterans,
My mother’s father among them,
stood at attention on a Bremerhaven dock.
Gusts of brine wind lapped
at the Fuhrer’s black leather coat,
but he took his time,
took each man’s hands in his own,
thanked each for his sacrifice.
.For the first time, a woman is allowed to see
her wounded husband, brought back from the East.
She finds him mutilated, missing an ear,
half his face, an arm. “It’s the Jews,”
she screams. “it’s all the Jews’ fault.”
Man comes off the platform and sits down on bench.
He looks toward the audience.