Kindertransport by Diane Samuels

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4 ‘HELGA. You have to be able to manage on your own./ EVA. Why?/ HELGA. Because you do.’ – The exchange implies that Eva has not yet fully grasped the implications of her being sent to England. Helga’s answer to Eva’s ‘Why?’ can be compared to the traditional parental response to childish questions: ‘Because I say so.’ It is a major theme of the play that the Kinder have no choice about what happens to them: they are sent away because adults judge it is the best thing for them.

4 ‘A key jangles in the door lock.’ – The room, like Evelyn’s memory of these events, is kept locked up, which is rather unusual for an attic or store room in an ordinary house. Evelyn does not wish the things she keeps here to be disturbed.

4 ‘If she sees HELGA and EVA, even momentarily, she ignores them.’ – These two characters represent, in some sense at least, her subconscious memories, so it is understandable she might react to them ‘momentarily’, and also that she will ignore them as soon as she regains her composure. Samuels doesn’t state this explicitly, but it can be assumed that the actresses playing Helga and Eva should not react to the sound of the key or Evelyn and Faith’s entrance since the two new characters exist decades into their future.

4 ‘Most of it is junk.’ – This is patently not true. Some of Evelyn’s most important memorabilia are contained in this room, but it makes dramatic sense that she would try to dismiss its contents as being of no importance.

4 ‘You don’t keep junk.’ – Faith knows that her mother is not a hoarder, and relates this information to the audience. It is therefore clear that what Evelyn keeps in this room is important to her in some way.

5 ‘Do you want anything in particular?’ – Evelyn does not challenge Faith’s contradiction (above) preferring to change the subject. This may be because Faith has touched a nerve, or it may be due to Evelyn’s eirenic nature. She humours others, particularly her daughter, and tries her best to avoid controversy.

5 ‘I was thinking of take aways’ – On the surface at least, Faith is hopelessly unsuited to living independently – though here she may be mischievously ‘pushing her mother’s buttons’ as the phrase has it. The fact that she is apparently unable or unwilling to cook for herself parallels the much younger Eva’s difficulty in sewing on a button. It also may make the audience wonder how serious Faith is about living independently. Probably, Evelyn has done everything for her up until now.

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Diane Samuels