Imprisoned behind ropes of barbed wire, brick walls and mountains of suitcases and trunks, eight Jewish children fight to survive the horrors of the concentration camp. The only thing the Nazis haven't ripped away from these children is their art. It becomes the spark that ignites their imaginations and keeps hope alive.
Michael Slade's poignant drama, while written for young audiences, is a reminder to everyone that the Holocaust wasn't simply a history lesson to be studied in school. It involved real people with families who lived regular lives, dreamed of a bright future, and were hopeful to the very end. Slade imagines a group of children, based upon actual camp prisoners, who become their own family unit. They paint and draw pictures, write poetry, play instruments, sing, perform puppet shows and even publish a newspaper for their fellow prisoners. Their art allows them to play and express themselves, and, as one child says, to create "proof that we were here."
Tom Arvetis directs this beautiful, inspiring story with intelligence and sensitivity. Each character, played by a talented ensemble of young actors, touches our hearts while teaching us about courage and integrity under unspeakable circumstances. Arvetis represents each child, as well as thousands of other unseen victims, with multitudes of suitcases. Stacked ever higher, they form walls around the stage symbolizing the Gestapo's tightening grip on the children's lives. Unique lighting, sound and an unobtrusive musical score represent the unseen adults whose presence is constantly felt. One of the most deeply moving dramas of the season, Slade's play should not be missed.