Testimonials from the Premiere
Harrow Arts Centre, January 26th 2022
Rhianna Elsden, Drama and Theatre Education Magazine
“A brilliant but serious play, perfect for introducing students to verbatim theatre”
Alex Maws (AJR. Formally Head of Education at the Holocaust Educational Trust)
“Depicting the Holocaust on stage can be incredibly challenging and it often goes wrong in spite of good intentions. With its pro audiences with sensitivity and emotion while also never veering from historical facts and complexities. It is quite an accomplishment to strike such a delicate balance”
Lorraine Feldman, North London Reform Synagogue
“Wow! What can I say about last night’s performance and Q&A session afterwards? We were blown away by the performance and was totally immersed in it A powerful and truly remarkable performance by all those involved. Thank you!”
Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, Mother of Dan - ‘I Love You Mum, I promise I won’t Die'
It was such an enormous privilege to be at the premiere last week (of Kindness). There’s something unparalleled about taking real words and embodying them on stage, that brings the experiences they refer to more richly to life than anything else. It somehow enabled us as an audience to witness them in a way that felt so much more real and present than even the most movingly told story, and to have so much more impact than the best of dramatisations.
The play and the story it was inspired by are incredibly powerful and moving.
Kindness presents poignantly the unimaginably difficult reality of those cruelly persecuted by Nazi Germany, while also demonstrating that love and spiritual resistance can drive us no matter the situation that we face. It will stay with me for a long time and will no doubt serve as a lesson and a warning to future generations, so that a tragedy like the Holocaust never happens again.
My wife and I attended Harrow Arts Centre last night and we wanted to tell you – we often go to the theatre, but we have never had a more powerful and moving and inspiring evening as we had last night. As you discussed (in the post show discussion), and several people including obviously Susan commented – this is the most incredibly clever way to continue telling her story, indeed any survivor’s story. I think someone described it as using a ‘surrogate voice’? For us it was that and much more; a way of understanding Susan’s story in such an unexpected way, but it also made us think – which, from the discussion and knowing about your programmes that go with the play is what you intend. It was moving, challenging and thought provoking.
Thankyou for an inspiring evening
“I’m overwhelmed with this wonderful play you have created. The actors were just fabulous and your direction is just remarkable. You made it so real and so convincing and so full of hope and full of everything I can think of. It’s wonderful. I don’t know how to thank you. It will be so successful. It will have a long long life and do wonderful and important work. Thank you very much.”
I am a History teacher and, in all honesty, I came more for the op-portunity to hear Susan speak than to watch a play. When I came into the theatre, whilst I thought the way the set had been laid out was very interesting, I couldn’t work out how on earth any play about Susan’s life (I have read overviews and seen a couple of videos of her speaking) could possibly be done justice with it.
I want to tell you, with all these things in mind, I have never felt so happy to be wrong. Last night was extraordinary. The set really did do the job it needed to – not at all trying to recreate but, with the lighting, costume changes and – frankly amazing – actors really enabled us to move from place to place with Susan, so that we could come some- where towards understanding her experience of those times.
Not to show us as they would have been, which clearly we can never truly see (and as Susan says ‘nor should imagine’) but to help us understand her feelings and experiences, to make us think about many of the key issues that we try to ask young people to think about when we’re teaching the Holocaust. We ask students when we have survivors coming into our school to bear witness. Your play really did that but also added maybe more chance to bear witness to the feel- ings as well as the memories. I was so impressed with how that worked.
… I was astonished! I wasn’t alone. The audience gave the performance a prolonged standing ovation. The outstanding feature of the production in my opinion was the physical theatre layered onto the play in such a sensitive, gentle and subtle manner. It was utterly, UTTERLY incredible.
I can’t wait for it to be seen in theatres and schools.