Wytheville Community College Theatre will present Auschwitz Lullaby, a play that focuses on the actions of a Jewish doctor at an Auschwitz Nazi prison camp, on Friday and Saturday, November 3-4 and Thursday and Friday, November 9-10, 2017, at 8 p.m. in the Snyder Auditorium on the WCC campus in Wytheville.
Auschwitz Lullaby is a play about humankind, about an environment that should not exist, but does, about choices people should never have to make, but do. Ultimately, Auschwitz Lullaby highlights the worst and the best in all of us.
From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Of these prisoners, 1.1 million were murdered, primarily Jews, but also including Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and other nationalities. This backdrop of horror and death is the setting for Auschwitz Lullaby, a drama by James C. Wall, inspired by the journals of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli.
Dr. Nyiszli was a Jewish doctor who, along with his wife and daughter, was imprisoned at Auschwitz, where he was forced to work for the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, the “doctor of death.” Playwright Wall uses Nyiszli as the inspiration for Dr. Isaac Jonah, the protagonist of Auschwitz Lullaby. Dr. Jonah (played by Roger Dean Grubb) is caught in a nightmare, while trying to keep his wife (Tina Edwards), his daughter, and himself safe. Like Nyiszli, Jonah works for Mengele and is forced to witness unspeakable acts that test his beliefs and his faith.
The action begins when Canada (James Pakkidis), another Jewish prisoner working with Jonah, discovers a girl (Jessie Moore) who has somehow miraculously survived the gas chamber. Jonah and Canada plot to help the girl escape Auschwitz but face formidable obstacles in the form of Captain Hans Gunter (Robert Burnett), who runs Crematorium #2, and prison guard Eva Vacek (Lorna King). By the end of the play, Jonah is forced to rethink everything he once believed to be true.
This is an intense drama not recommended for children under age 13, as the onstage violence could be disturbing to a young audience. Tickets are $5 general admission; $4 for students and senior citizens. The box office opens 30 minutes before each performance.
For more information about WCC Theatre, visit www.wcc.vccs.edu/wcc-theatre.