War and what was next?
At the beginning of December, young actors under the direction of Tamara Pomoriski, met to discuss the next year´s activities of the project “We Are the Memory“, the opening night of which is planned for January 27, 2021. A theatre play reflecting memories of WW II and the following post-war era, will be performed at the occasion of The International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Prague. This year, a short film presenting the activities of performing groups of Memory of the Nation Theatre will be released. As soon, as the pandemic situation allows, it´s planned to shoot the performance and later to present it to the audience.
On Sunday, December 13, 2020, young participants of the project had a meeting with the eyewitnesses – they met partly on-line, partly face to face – while observing current hygienic restrictions.
SCREENPLAY FROM THE STORIES OF THE EYEWITNESSES
Helga Hošková-Weissová, a Czech painter of Jewish origin, was one of those who shared their stories with young actors (aged 16-21). Her story is available at https://www.memoryofnations.eu/cs/hoskova-weissova-helga-1929. She painted hundreds of pictures while being forced to stay at the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Helga and her mother survived the transport to Auschwitz concentration camp as well as the death march to the concentration camp at Mauthausen. Recently she published her book “Nobody Waited for Us“ reflecting her way home.
Another guest of the meeting was Helena Klímová, a Charter 77 signatory whose story in English is available at: https://www.memoryofnations.eu/en/klimova-helena-1937.
The next eyewitness was Zuzana Peterová, her story in English is available at: https://www.memoryofnations.eu/en/peterova-zuzana-1950 The invitation was also accepted by Věra Roubalová, you can read her story at: https://www.memoryofnations.eu/en/roubalova-vera-1947. The only man present, the eyewitness Jiří Pitín, survived the Lidice tragedy: https://www.memoryofnations.eu/en/pitin-jiri-1942. Being an orphan after WWII, he was raised by his aunt Marie Kvasničková.
Meeting the eyewitnesses was a very powerful experience for the young actors.
The theme of this yearʹs performance is the period right after the end of war. What happened next? How did people who experienced the war manage to cope with everyday life? And what about their descendants and the transgenerational trauma? Performances are always held at a specific place connected with the story.
In 2019, the performance took place at Masaryk Station in Prague (theme: Roads and transports); last year it was held in the National Library (theme: Books – stories both written and unwritten).
Other professionals who worked on the 2021 performance “We Are the Memory“ are: Tomáš Žižka, scenographer and teacher at The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU) and Lea Švejdová, dancer and teacher at Duncan Centre, Prague. The partners of this performance, which is a project of Theater Na de Dam International, are: Dutch Ambassy, International Visegrad Fund, Fond Holocaust and Ministry of Culture CR. Special thanks to Business and Education centre Sněmovní 7 and to Radana and Jiří Wald Španělská 10, Prague.