Kindertransport by Diane Samuels

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8 ‘Karla says its because they didn’t want to send them away.’ – Behind this statement is Eva’s feeling of insecurity that perhaps her own parents do want to send her away.

8 ‘Of course they would send them away if they had places. Any good parent would do that.’ – In this speech lies one of the major issues of the play: from the adult perspective, the greatest gift a parent can give to a child is life itself. Logically, indeed, such a gift overrides everything else. Parents, therefore, are often prepared to sacrifice their own lives or happiness for their children. The complication here is that the parent-child relationship is not so clearly built on logic: it is a matter of the heart primarily, and a child is not so easily capable of overriding their emotions and being able to understand why such a thing as the Kindertransport is a necessary evil.

8 ‘EVA. Can’t you and Vati protect me?/ HELGA. Only be sending you away.’ – The major dilemma of the play is restated. ‘Vati’ is the German equivalent of ‘daddy’.

8 ‘The needle’s stuck.’ – Eva is still sewing, but Samuels probably intends a pun on the previous repetition of ‘Silly permits’, recalling the idea of a record player needle getting stuck in a groove so that the music endlessly repeats itself. Helga’s childish talk of ‘Silly, silly permits’ reminds the audience of the reality: permits for Eva’s parents to leave Germany will, no doubt, be hard to obtain, and their pursuit of these ‘Silly permits’ will also endlessly repeat itself as they are forced to jump through various bureaucratic hoops.

9 ‘Pause. / EVELYN. You can’t stay here forever.’ – Evelyn finally gives in and addresses Faith’s words. The segue from Helga/Eva to Evelyn/Faith is accomplished through the device of the needle: Helga gives in and assists Eva in her sewing just before Evelyn finally engages with her daughter.

9 ‘What I want is irrelevant. This is your life, Faith.’ – Evelyn has had her own life decided by her mother; she is determined that she will have no part either in keeping Faith at home or in encouraging her to leave.

9 ‘This continual vacillation is not helpful to either of us.’ – This is certainly true, and it is clearly a source of considerable stress for Evelyn, something communicated onstage by her constant polishing of the glasses.

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Diane Samuels