Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Ball For Genia - Episode I

Let the play begin!

But first, some background. The time is 1944, shortly before the end of World War II, and the place is an unnamed city outside Germany under Nazi occupation.  Except for the street scene that follows and a short scene in a cafĂ©, all the action takes place in the home of Albert Wachter, the man who saves Jews from The Holocaust. We first meet the little Jewish family of Jareth and his wife Lusia, and Genia a girl of about 8 years of age.


The episode is played before a drop curtain downstage that conceals the living room in Albert Wachter’s house.  The curtain is folded back to form a shallow alcove. There is an  undercurrent of sound—the growling and gabbling of close-by mob. A large stone crashes onto the stage and rolls to a stop.  Genia, Lusia and Jareth  rush onto the stage. They wear the yellow star of the Jews.  They are being pursued by a stone-throwing mob incited by Einsatzgruppen thugs, and have been running to exhaustion.

Lusia:  We can’t run anymore.  Genia can’t…
Genia   I’m alright, mamma.
Jareth:   We got away, I hope.  It’s a mob, an animal.
Lusia:   What do they want?
Jareth:  God only knows. Our lives, maybe.
Lusia:   Why? What have we done to deserve this?
Jareth:   Nothing.  Just being what we are—Jews.
   The roar of the mob is rising.
Jareth:   They’re coming back. Stay here.  Hide! [Jareth uges them into the fold in the   curtain.] I’ll lead them away.
Lusia:   No, Jareth! Don’t leave us!
Genia   No, daddy!
Jareth:   I must.
Lusia:   [Holding him] I won’t let you go!
Jareth:   I’ve got to.  I can hope that you will live, and…I will live on in you and Genia.
Lusia:    No! No!
    Jareth embraces Lusia:, stops her mouth with a fierce kiss and pulls Genia tightly against them.  They stand for a moment, then break apart when another stone rolls onto the stage. The growl of the mob swells to a roar. Jareth picks up the stone and winds up as if to throw it, then drops the stone.  He runs off the stage, waving his arms and yelling:
Jareth:  Here I am!  Catch me if you can!
   The roar of the mob rises to a crescendo.
Lusia:  Jareth! Jareth!
Genia  Daddy!
   Genia and Lusia huddle together.  The sound of the mob dies away.
Lusia:  God go with you, my husband.
  They look about uncertainly
Genia  Mamma, there’s a man…there!
Lusia:   A man?  Where?
Genia:   There!
   Wachter steps out of the shadows
Wachter:  Come with me.
Lusia:  I don’t know you. No!
Wachter: [Holding out his hand.]  You must come quickly.  The mob is coming back.
Lusia:  I don’t know what to do.  No! I won’t.
Genia [Takes Lusia’s hand.] Come, mamma.
Lusia:  No!
Genia [Takes Wachter’s hand.]  It’s all right, mamma. I know!
Wachter:  Come!
   Wachter hurries Lusia and Genia offstage.

End of Episode 1

Now Albert Wachter brings Genia and her mother safely to his home. They won’t be alone, for Wachter’s home shelters (unknown to the Gestapo) more than a dozen Jewish refugees.  It transpires that Wachter’s home is a way stop of an underground railroad dedicated to sending Jews to a safer country.  But the Allied armies are very close, and the refugees cannot be sent on their way safely, so they must stay put.  In Episode 2 to follow, we will enter Wachter’s big house of refuge, see Genia and Lusia again, and meet the other refugees.  

Important!  Don’t forget to view the “Interval” blog which will appear next Monday, October 15.  The Interval pages await your comments and opinions about the Holocaust and the play.   And be sure to look at our Facebook page, feel free to leave your comments below, or email them to  They also await your valued comments.  Thank you!

Genia thanks you, too.

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