Play Synopsis Written in Iambic Pentameter, Laces is the tragic tale of a young Romani girl, Nadya, and those she is trapped with, behind the walls of a Holocaust prison camp; The tales of each character are interwoven with the child’s struggle to understand her fate.
Cast of Characters Nadya: A young Romani girl. Her gift is singing and an optimistic, survivalist approach to life. She is strong and kind. Nadya helps to narrate the events of the play. This is her story.
The Officer: A German officer, who was once engaged to the Young Woman. He is set in his ways, but inside torn by the love he felt for a Jewish woman, he now must hate. When he is in his "quarters" he is always in dim lighting, eating, or having tea, and writing.
The Guard: A man who is just doing his job, but is secretly haunted by the nightmare that he is living working at Auschwitz.
The Woman: A Romani grandmother, whose spirit is broken by Auschwitz. She is Nadya's grandmother.
The Boy: A Jewish boy on his own. He is an orphan, and knows both his parents have been killed.
The Young Woman: Once the fiance of The Officer, she is now forced to work in his home, to save herself from hard labor and the gas chambers. She is torn by the love she feels for a man she should hate.
The Girl: A young Polish Catholic girl, whose mother was gassed, and she has no idea where the rest of her family is. She looks to Nadya as a big sister.
The POW: A Russian soldier - He brings levity to the camp, as he is not afraid of dying or the Nazis. He jokes with the children, makes fun of the guard and defies the hell of Auschwitz.
The Voice: The Voice of Hitler and The Voice of Propaganda. Could be either male or female. The Voice is never seen facing forward, but stands with back to audience in pin spot. Or is masked with a metallic sterile mask, to dehumanize the character. The Voice does not join the Masses. As Hitler, the voice removes the mask.
The Masses: All actors except for The Voice - depicting the brainwashed population and helping to narrate the tale.
Scene 1: Actors enter in blue-out silhouette. Music cue determines start of show. Nadya and other prisoners create either a triangle formation in pin spots, facing out towards the audience. If on the stage, The Voice has back to audience at all times, unless speaking, and is set far apart from other actors. The Officer and The Guard come in through the audience.
The Officer: Stand them here in lines of truest form, Barren, bare no clothes should they adorn. The mark they carry all they wear anon, For soon even their souls shalt be gone!
The Officer exits. The Guard paces in front of them.
The Guard: Heil and hell face each of you this morrow - Trust that breath you have is't one that's borrowed. Thou can'st see the future near, For each you die upon this sand of fear! Final words you have think them now aloud - For prayers unsaid will ne'er reach Heaven's shroud.
Firing command is heard. Shots are fired. All fall prisoners fall. Die. Black out.
Scene 2: Lights up. All actors rise in original positions. Each Actor removes their shoes and walks to DC pin spot, places the pair of shoes on the front edge of the stage. Shoes remain on the edge of the stage for the entire play. Then character speaks in a pin spot - as they finish they return to their original spot and another moves to DC pin spot.
The Woman: Carry I number nine, eleven, one, Name Vadoma, that my tale had just begun. In short I am a woman left to bleed, among the ruins of my family seed.
The Boy: Mine number, seven, eleven and two the only name I'll know, as I'm a Jew. Most call me Benoni, sadness beget I. Is't true I was brought here too young to die?
The Young Woman: Branded I with ink whilst never soften, numbers three, six twice, and an eleven. I fear this mark and torture faced again Shall block my way upon the path to Heav'n.
The Girl: Eleven, nine, Eleven stamped on I, and here I see is where I whilst last lie, Among the scattered corpses of the mound My parents lost, I too ne'er shall be found.
The POW: A soldier once yet now a tattooed drone, sixteen eleven scarred upon my bone. Were I to see the shimmer of a sword, I'd cut it off to see my just reward. And with this know that I am too A Prisoner of war, now 'tis true to see a fate most soldiers dread with fear to be the victim of our fight so clear. I join the ranks of those chosen to die I concentrate on my escape to fly.
Nadya: Carry I mark of eleven, elev'n - rings like a song of a bird sent from Heav'n. And never a day past this will my breast, be less proud of the gift I possess. To lift my breath and voice to the sky, 'tis in this way I shalt ne'er die. Here 'mongst the carak of my Romani descent, I pledge I shall ne'er my path to repent. For I am of people both proud and possessed, with the knowledge that we art forever blessed.
Scene 3: All Actors move into a triangular formation They speak and gesture in unison.
The Masses: Note ye "the truth" that infected us all, when keeper of hounds of hell stood tall, and 'twas let loose upon the lands of our home, to create a mass of torturous drones. As history proves again, and again - this is the plight of all "humane" men. Wars siege and destroy then fade like the ashes, as the hearts of the wronged that it abashes. See you the truth behind the masked face, the one that strangles within an embrace, hear you the words we were taught to believe, which now are the cause of all of our grief. Whilst you set forth on this historic journ, see you the genocide present and learn. For we are repeaters of poems and prayers, we are the makers of history's scares. And the laces that bind us through and through, are just a tie to another man's shoe. Slip it on for a try, walk but a mile, and see what it's like to face his life's trial.
All Actors replace shoes to spot & form lines. The Voice spews its propaganda.
The Voice: Truth that rests upon thy heart brings thee here. The Truth giveth approof to what we fear. Those that carry the star art lesser men. The Truth doth lead us to a better end. The Truth is your leader listen to him well, else thou shalt find thy soul 'mongst hounds of hell. Affy thy leader, thy king for he hast formula to capitulate our cast, and pronounce our race, the purest of all, to make each German stand tallest of tall!
Pin spot up on Nadya breaks free to speak.
Nadya: Once long ago in a land we called home, lived a band of our people proud and strong, We lived off the land and the gifts of our art, and travel we did, to follow our heart. In one cloaked night it shattered in fire, as they took us away from their growing empire, to a place as bleak as a desert of snow, the home that once was, never I'd know again, for we were no longer aloud, to be the Romani strong, palecido and proud.
Nadya & The Woman on train. All Prisoners play characters on train.
Nadya: Puri Daj?
Woman: So si tut ando shoro?
Nadya: Where takest us this train so full and dark? When whilst we see the daylight spark?
Woman: Fear not my little Chey, it stays the course, to take us far from where the fighting is worse. No more we hear the bombs and feel earth quake, as in night's bed thy slumber thee doth take.
Nadya: Soske? Must we leave our caravan behind? Canst we travel in our family line?
Woman: My little Nadya, hopeful as her name, to travel with our family causes shame.
Nadya: Shame? But we Romani never cared - We know the truth so we are never scared.
Woman: Little soldier of mine heart, thou at a tribute to our kin. Hold strong my little chey, for I do fear, the worst hast yet to begin.
Scene 4: All Actors move into diagonal line formation. They speak and gesture in unison.
The Masses: See thou the lines the trains and the track of people who ne'er will return aback, to life they once held with joyous refrain, the songs they once sang in the dark now r'main.
The actors freeze while Voice turns to speak.
The Voice: The war of truth and justice is the Christian way, it rages upon us now in light of day. And thou art a criminal if it be so harbor thee heart of Jew, Gypsy or foe, thou art the enemy of our race, thou canst not escape this place!
Pin spot up on Nadya - breaks free to speak.
Nadya: They herded us in to a "camp" like no other, a place I would not have sent enemy or brother. They tallied us up and tattooed our skin, They scrubbed us down 'til it burned from within. Our clothes and our things were taken away, The mizhak Ataman yelled through the day, Around us the words of a terrible man, who said we, all prisoners, t'were not human.
Nadya , The Girl & The Boy. All Prisoners play characters in Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Triangular line facing out towards audience.
The Girl: My skin burneth and mine eyes sting with tears, Oh Mother where art thou, come rid my fears!
Nadya: Don't worry, thy mother is further on up, she'll meet you where e're they are taking us!
The Boy: Hush! If thou speakest is worst! Don't sayeth a word or thou shalt be cursed!
Nadya: An amriya? By who the soldiers there? They could'st not a curse cast if try they dare!
The Boy: No 'tis true! I hear 'tis chamber of gas, they'll walk you inside and you'll ne'er come back!
The Girl: Gas? What is gas? Like the wash dost hurt too?
Nadya: Hush now my sweet, they wont do it to you.
The Boy: 'Twill happen to thee b'fore 'twill to me! First weak and the sick, then the girls are the pick.
Nadya: Hush now! Thou scarest this sweet little one, there's nothing to fear we'll soon find your mum!
Scene 5: All Actors move into a triangular formation.
The Masses: The shadow cast o'er one country, then many, the man and his myths then grew into plenty, and poisoned the minds of the children & men, where once a kind spirit of country had been.
All Actors on triangles. Voice turns, masked.
The Voice: Dost thou believe? Dost thou hearest mine voice? Believeth thee in the popular choice? Volcanoes erupt from the smallest of word, to seek out the least intelligent herd, and most read'ly convinced I do surmise - shall claim Heaven be Hell, torture, paradise.
Pin spot up on Nadya in her DS spot.
Nadya: Men who were heroes, once protected us, believed his speeches, propaganda and such, abandoned their posts at the doors of our land, and formed colonies of worker bees for his band. They swore away what they loved and they knew, They turned their backs upon all that was true, And let those they needed to care for the most, Take up the chains of the banished ghost.
The Guard, The Officer & The Voice. The Voice does not turn until the guard exits.
The Guard: Sieg Heil and hark - thy wish is my command, Forever one the Aryan race shall band together in this plight to purest end And see only the likes of honest men Set forth under his guide to wage our war, the only purpose man can true insure.
The Guard Exits. The Voice turns around. He is unmasked.
The Voice (about the guard): 'Tis fortunate he cannot think for self. Tho, that he were foe, I'd not fear his stealth.
The Voice: And thou? Thou art intelligent and brave, yet thy stealth leads me to not know thy behave. Dost thou pledge to protect thy pure country?
The Officer: I pledge as t'were to mine own family.
The Voice: And thou know'st we need not heroes, but men who band together my demands to attend? Officers are all of one tie - that bonds our armies, even should'st they die.
The Officer: I find honor in the collective mine Furah, and 'twill carry out all the demands of thy purer race and religion without question of why. I pledge as soldier to do this or die!
The Voice regards The Officer, speaks calculatingly.
The Voice: Thou hadst a fiance I'm told 'twas a Jew.
The Officer: Adopted, the maid, that I not knew. -But she no longer a part of my life. She will ne'er take my love or hand as my wife.
The Voice: Nor share your bed when secretly permits?
The Officer: She hast been taken away to Auschwitz.
The Voice: Which is of my concern as I send you there now.
The Officer: I wouldst not touch her were she the last frau!
The Voice: Your emotions are strong - don't let them away - or 'twould be with thine own life thee might pay.
The Officer: Mine Furah, I vow, I loveth her naught. The trail of deceit she wove was a plot, to pretend she was that of blood pure, but that is her curse, thou resteth assure.
The Voice: Then to your post! Soldier, manage it well. Remember make only Heaven of Hell.
The Officer salutes and turns formally and walks off.
Scene 6: All Actors on triangle platforms, x each other, switching platforms. The Guard stays in his position. The Officer x paths with The Young Woman.
The Masses: Shipped to the ends of the earth it would seem, to where no soul couldst there ever redeem the tortures t'were done, those couldst never mend, the people who had to endure and defend.
The Voice turns, masked & spews its propaganda..
The Voice: The creator, mighty and all knowing, has unto mine eyes given showing. He has spoken to me, shows me the way to make our people strongest, smartest of race - and he tells me who hast truth they must face. We must rise high above and rid ourselves of, the ones who shalt ne'er know of his love.
Pin spot up on Nady - breaks free to speak.
Nadya: The voice of reason was lost to a fiend, and cast to nightmares, we couldst not have dreamed, He tooketh the wife, the child, the friend, and scattered their ashes where pain wouldst not end.
Nadya sings: Lift up your voice & sing with e, if you've no voice I'll sing for thee.
Nadya: But we rose above in the days of our toil, we held out our hands, our love wouldst not spoil, Yes even amongst the stench and the death, We gave to our songs, some in their last breath.
The Young woman enters the room with her head down. The Officer has his back to her upon entry, he turns to regard her, slams hand on desk.
Officer: Whore! Thou wouldst do best to look upon me now.
The Young Woman looks up and sees her former fiancé.
The Young Woman: How hast thou come to guard this cage of hell?
The Officer: Shut thy trap and speak no more free of will. Thou hast luck I have found thee breathing still. 13
The Young Woman: 'Tis so, have not taken me yet to kill.
The Officer: Nor shall they, presently under mine eye - Thou shalt clean the floors I walk on b'fore die.
The Young Woman walks to the Officer and takes his face in her hands.
The Young Woman: Then 'tis true thou dost love me even now?
The Officer pushes her to the ground.
The Officer: Love thee? HA! Thou art nothing but a Jew and a traitor! BOW!
The Young Woman: I bow to thee, but traitor never I - Not to thee, country nor my God on high!
The Officer: Thou dost not have a country simple Jew! As for love, thou art a traitor through 'n through.
The Young Woman: If I am homeless 'tis not cause I'm Jew. Traitor I'll ne'er be due to lack of love for you.
The Officer: Couldst never have been love thou promised me - as I ne'er knew thine true identity. The Young Woman: Oh contraire my love, thou art the sole one, who knew the woman I had then become. Thou spoke to mine heart with eyes of true love, but shut me down as if told from above. The Officer: 'Tis from above, whence mine orders came. The Young Woman: And those orders cover up your shame? The love I knew now dost change his face, to be the puppet of a "master race" - that exist only in the mind, of one who's brain and soul are more than blind, If insane were a reward we cherished so, then he the worthy Tin God wouldst ever glow! But he like my love will fallest fast, if he and thee continue on this path.