Theatre | The Good and the True

download4/5 Stars

Coinciding with National Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January, Svandovo Divadlo and New End Theatre Beyond bring historical, memoir-based play ‘The Good and The True’ to the Carriageworks, Leeds. Originally created and performed in Prague, Leeds-based producer Brian Daniels translated the piece, which now embarks on its UK tour. Weaving testimonies of two remarkable survivors of the concentration camps, this extraordinary piece of verbatim theatre strives to depict the message that we must not let this dark chapter in history be forgotten. Throughout, director Daniel Hrbek explores the story behind their survival; was it their determination and personal strength that ensured their survival? Or are these simply two tales of fortune and ‘good luck’?

The intimacy between the actors and audience is heightened by the use of one of the smaller theatre spaces in the Carriageworks, immediately adding further resonance to home of the two characters, Hana and Milos

Each story stands independent from the other; although they both passed through Terezin (Teresienstadt) and Auschwitz, they never met, and so they describe two contrasting tales of the same experience. A physical barrier of barbed wire, indicative of the borders of the camps, divides the actors from the audience. The barrier plays with audience perception, forcing us to intrusively look in on their experiences and traumas. What the play lacks in emotional engagement with the characters’ stories, it more than made up for with its haunting set and delivery, successfully blended at times with moments of light-hearted optimism.

This one act play will continue to the spectacular Sanctuary of West London Synagogue in time for Holocaust Memorial Day. Though it depicts two extraordinary stories of concentration camp survivors in an exemplary and accurate way, sadly, there are still over six million others that remain untold.

Jennifer Smith

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