By Treena Mielke
Rimbey high school drama class is gearing up to present the two-act play And A Child Shall Lead, a poignant, gripping story about the horrors of the holocaust and the children who suffered because of it.
Based on the courageous children of Terezin, who were held in a Czechoslovakian ghetto, the play spans the time frame from 1942 to ’45.
Grade 11 student, 16-year-old Jorney Giesbrecht plays the role of 12-year-old Gabriella Winterova, a 12-year Jewish girl who is sent to the concentration camp. During the three years she is in the camp, she falls in love with Paval Hoffman, played by Grade 11 student, 16-year-old Ryley Matthews.
“I feel very honoured to play the role of Gabriella,” said Giesbrecht. It has given me a greater understanding of what they went through.”
Matthews said he is very much enjoying his role.
“I’m enjoying every moment of it,” he said. “The play is bound to make people cry,” he added.
During the play, the children want to make a newspaper, but Hoffman, who tries to remain the voice of reason, discourages such an activity, though he does end up publishing a little article to impress Gabriella.
The play portrays Paval Hoffman as the only survivor of the Terezin children.
“Before I get saved by the Soviets, I see Gabriella taken off to another concentration camp. That is really hard for me,” he said.
Selena Grullerink, another 16-year-old Grade 11 student plays the role of Eva Hellorava, a 14-year-old girl who is taken from her parents along with her six-year-old sister, Jana.
Grutterink finds the role fascinating.
“As Eva, when the first person dies and I realize we are not going to get out, I begin to realize how valuable life is,” she said.
Johanna Lunmann, 17, in Grade 12, said it is difficult to play the role of a six-year-old.
“You have to remember you might not know what’s going on. Jana finally realizes, when her doll breaks, that she is going to have to depend on herself. She cries a lot, but that made her grow up a little.”
High school drama teacher Shauna Murdock said the students have worked hard on the play.
“I wanted them to do a drama and I wanted them to appreciate and understand the holocaust and how it happened. I don’t want them to forget.”
The play is to be held at The Peter Lougheed Community Centre as part of a dinner theatre.
Tickets are available at the school.