Kindertransport by Diane Samuels

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14 ‘Just get this lot boxed and neaten the room.’ – Lil still cares for Evelyn. Her concern for her is seen at the same time that the audience watches Eva and Helga cuddling.

14-15 ‘FAITH pulls out a hard-backed children’s story book identical to the one HELGA is holding. / Pipe music.’ – The book is Der Rattenfänger. It is a pity, perhaps, that there have to be two versions of the same prop. The music is, naturally, the Ratcatcher theme.

15 ‘Not that one, Eva.’ – Der Rattenfänger is the book Eva was trying to read to herself at the beginning of the play. Helga doesn’t want to read it because central to the story is the sorrow of parents losing their children. Eva, however, insists on it because she has already been scared by the book’s ‘abyss’ and she wants to face and overcome her fears with her ‘Mutti’. ‘The Ratcatcher’ story doesn’t generally have a happy ending, though in some versions the children are transported to Transylvania, and in some the Ratcatcher returns the children to their parents after he is paid a greater fee than he asked for originally. Later, the audience learn that Der Rattenfänger is actually Eva’s favourite book – Helga sends it to her from Germany – so she will be fully aware of the ending, happy or otherwise.

15 ‘EVA quickly sneaks her mouth organ into the case.’ – Her disobedience towards Helga possibly foreshadows her later rejection of her birth mother.

15 ‘The Ratcatcher?’ – Faith apparently has more than a smattering of German.

15 ‘I hope you won’t ask questions like this when you’re in England.’ – Helga wants Eva’s foster parents to think she has been well brought up.

15 ‘She finds an inscription in the front of the book.’ – This is presumably the first time Faith has seen her mother’s real name.

15 ‘Hamlyn’ – Hameln, usually anglicised to Hamelin.

15 ‘Hamburg, 1939’ – The similarity between ‘Hamlyn’ and ‘Hamburg’ is possibly significant (though the journey from Hamburg, via Hook of Holland and Harwich, was historically one of the main routes used by the Kindertransport.) The book – as is seen later – was sent to Eva just before the outbreak of war.

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Diane Samuels
the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

Available HERE where you can read the opening chapters.

The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul