International Essays on Theatre for Young Audiences- A Publication of ASSITEJ and ITYARN
Defining the Child: Taboos of Fear and Age Appropriateness in Youth Holocoust Drama
69 Defining the Child: Taboos of Fear and Age Appropriateness in Youth Holocaust Drama1 Erika Hughes Theatre is frequently used in the teaching and commemoration of the Holocaust for young people. Yet the Holocaust is not a universally understood event, and the question of how best to tell its stories elicits multiple answers, many of them in opposition with one another. In this essay, I discuss archetypes and tropes found in Holocaust plays from the United States, Germany, and Israel, which are shaped largely by the differing ideologies of Holocaust commemoration and remembrance, and also how each nation defines a child. Through an examination of American playwright James Still’s And Then They Came For Me: Remember- ing the World of Anne Frank, the Berliner Ensemble’s Anne Frank: Tagebuch, and Israeli playwright/performer Amichai Pardo and director Ruth Kanner’s Ten Matchboxes, I address the following questions: what are some of the special con- siderations performers and facilitators of drama workshops must take into con- sideration when performing the Holocaust for children? How young is too young to discuss something like the Holocaust? How does fear complicate the ways in which performers can present this tragedy onstage? And how do the answers to these questions differ from country to country, and from culture to culture? Staging the Holocaust for Youth The Holocaust presents a particular set of challenges for practitioners of Theatre for Youth. To begin to think about how to perform the Holocaust, one must con- front the problems inherent in talking...
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