The Smoke of Home, written in the Terezín/Theresienstadt Ghetto, was staged in York's historic Clifford's Tower in April 2016.
The World War II Jewish ghetto known in Czech as Terezín and in German as Theresienstadt, 40 miles northwest of Prague, was a site of great suffering and deprivation. It was also a site of enormous artistic energy. During Lisa Peschel's interviews with survivors of the ghetto in 2004-2008, several previously unknown scripts written in the ghetto came to light – scripts ranging from cabarets and musical revues to historical and verse dramas.
One of those scripts was The Smoke of Home (Dým domova), written by two Czech-Jewish prisoners in their early 20s. Jiří Stein subsequently perished in the Holocaust; Zdeněk Eliáš survived and eventually emigrated to the US but passed away in 2000. Fortunately his friend, Jiří Franěk, told Peschel about the script, and his widow in the US, Kate Elias, located it among his papers. His daughter Dorothy Elias translated it from Czech to English.
Eliáš’s brother Luděk, who was also involved in the theatrical life of the ghetto, remembered the script vividly. According to him, the two authors wrote the play in response to a particular phenomenon in Terezín/Theresienstadt: the older prisoners' endless conversations about their homes and their hopes that they would return to a world just like the one they had left.
The two young authors had the foresight to realize that, even if they survived, postwar life would be radically different. The Smoke of Home reflects the Terezín (Theresienstadt): prisoners' own situation through historical allegory: the play is set in the seventeenth century, during the Thirty Years' War. With this play the two young authors dared to ask: after the war, will we have a home to return to?
Waldau: Sam Hill
Christian: James Esler
Casselius: Christain Loveless
Veronika: Estela Williams
Father Anselm: Josh Welch
Understudy: Jacob Hobbins
Executive Producer: Lisa Peschel
Director: Joe Lichtenstein
Assistant Directors: Esme Pitts, Julia Levai
Stage Manager: Vita Ingram- Anichkin
Assistant Stage Manager: Sophie Shepherd
Production Manager: Sue Jewitt
(Please see program under 'outputs' for a full list of all the individuals and organizations who helped make this remarkable production possible.)
|Author||Jiří (Jirka) Stein|
|Researcher and producer||Lisa Peschel|