|Role||Voice Type||Range ?||Character Description|
|Bryna/Tybele||high||A young Jewish Polish girl, escaped from the Nazis|
|Little Bryna||high||Bryna's younger cousin|
Still the Night tells the fictional story of two Jewish Polish cousins, both named Bryna, who have escaped from the Nazis and joined the Partisans. Along the way they are hung on crosses, raped, almost shot and forced to turn to prostitution to survive.
The heart of the piece lies not in the wartime atrocities, but in the way each survivor deals with experiences and memories after the war. One cousin, outgoing, resourceful, and responsible, becomes embittered and angry, while the quieter cousin adjusts to a happy life in Israel.
SCORES FOR PURCHASE
PREMIERE PRODUCTION INFORMATION
|Little Bryna||Liza Balkan|
|Music Director||John Alcorn|
|Set and Costume Design||Mary Kerr|
|Lighting Design||Andrea Lundy|
|Stage Manager||Kathryn Davies|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Kristen Van Alphen|
|Stage Carpenter||Ian Chappell|
|Wardrobe Buyer||Jocelyn Hublau|
|Wardrobe Maintenance||Richard Ryder|
|Scenic Artist||Sandra Richter|
|Wardrobe Builder||Joanne Leblanc|
|Head Carpenter||Will Sutton|
|Stage/Lighting Crew||T.J. Shamata|
|Stage/Lighting Crew||Gord Foster|
|Stage/Lighting Crew||Ian Hutson|
|Stage/Lighting Crew||Mark Ryder|
|Stage/Lighting Crew||Angela DaRoche|
|Lighting Operator||Andrew MacFarlane|
|Additional Publicity||Hindy Nosek-Ableson|
|Additional Publicity||HNA Creatives|
In fact, it is Yiddish themes that first brought me to Toronto in 1978 where I premiered the Holocaust play Children of the Night. It was at that point that I first started to write these stories.
It wasn't until 1992, when I started performing musical concerts in the Jewish community, that the success of these concerts fueled my desire to bring the project into the theatre world. Anne Anglin listened to my stories and encouraged me to see that through improvisation I could now, with her dramaturgical help, shape the mountain of available material.
John Alcorn arranged the songs with a modern approach that made them accessible to English-speaking audiences. Hindy Abelson also became part of the team in order to help me translate the Yiddish songs into English. In February 1995, John Alcorn, Anne Anglin and myself approached David Duclos of the Theatre Centre with the idea of finding a way to marry the songs and stories. The Theatre Centre donated the space for an initial 5 day workshop. It was during this preliminary improvisational investigation that the creative team learned two important things. The historical songs could counterpoint and elucidate the amazing stories of resistance, and needed another actor. Welcome Liza Balkan.
Tapestry Music Theatre embraced the project as part of its new work development program late in the fall of 1995 and joined forces with Theatre Passe Muraille in late spring as the production took shape. A July workshop, hosted by Theatre Passe Muraille, brought the work to where we felt we could commence rehearsals in the fall.
- Theresa Tova
First night in the forest.
Drawing them out, these
Models for exploration,
The director pursues
The images in
Dream or sketch
Then backs off
Letting them breathe
Their own personalities
Into this winding story.
Another way in . . .
It was summer . . . 1995. I called up some old friends . . . a farming couple who lived outside Brussels, Ontario, Ray and Joan, and asked a favour in the name of research for Still The Night. I began: "Two actresses will visit you: They are pretending to be young Jewish girls on a partisan food reconnaissance mission. They will give the code name, "What's cooking?" or they may "caw" like crows. You, being friendly to them, will let them into your farm house and give them food. After this, they will leave and go back down the road where I will be waiting in my truck."
This is what happened.
I waited a half hour, then an hour. I decided to go up the lane to find out if they'd even made it into the house. No one was about. I knocked on the door. Joan answered, beaming. I said, "What's cooking?" She beckoned me inside, saying nothing. I gathered I was to follow her into the front room where Ray (also silently beaming), pulled back the furniture, then the rug to reveal a trap door which he carefully opened. And who should pop up but Theresa Tova looking shocked and amazed. Liza Balkan followed her out, carrying a feed bag which, I found out later, contained a candle, matches, bread, a jar of water. . . . Evidently they were even supplied with a potty in case the need arose. It was black down there except for a small hole to the outside. This was the creative participation of Ray who'd been watching actors researching for years ever since Paul Thompson's collective, The Farm Show. He proved a brilliant participant in the exploration of partisan tactics even if the original intention was somewhat altered. The actresses were grateful and informed. "Hiding" took on new meaning. The play could begin.
- Anne Anglin
QUOTATIONS FROM CREATIVE TEAM
Hitler didn't do it to me . . . yet he did. Over the years, my search for answers led me to work with survivors in group therapy. I saw grown women enter rooms forty years after the end of the war and look for places to hide . . . just in case. The grief of being abandoned mixed with the anger and shame of years of abuse can make everyone the enemy. My wish is to be able to turn and face the past. To regain my future and end the cycle of hate and abuse before it affects the next generation.
As an actress, I've spent most of my life pretending to be something I'm not. My own parents had to hide who they were, but through Still The Night I can sing it loudly and tell the world. I hope these old musical treasures ring as true to you today as they did when they were first performed on the vaudeville stage or in ghetto revues.
Thanks to my children David and Tara who are the first to understand. Bob for his heart, Anne for her unwavering faith, Liza for her breath of life, Mary for her genius, John for always being there, Claire for her wisdom, Wayne for his humour, Hindy for her friendship. My leap of faith has been supported by so many. From the incredible Still the Night fundraising committee, to the crew at Passe Muraille. This has been a family. Special thanks to Adam Austin, Pnina Zilberman, Arron Fainer, Helen Zuckerman, Paul Faizone, Paul Thompson, David Duclos, Iris Turcott, Jeffrey Latimer, Joan and Ray Bird, Svetlana Zylin, Bill Humenick, Haniiah Havlicek-Martinek, Susan Serran, Barry Lipson, Honey Sherman, Myrna Levin, Rick Feldman, Barbra Linds, Esther Pifko and all my supporters and friends.
- Theresa Tova
QUOTATIONS FROM MEDIA
- Richard Ouzounian, CBC Radio
“Still The Night is the most scorchingly honest and life-affirming theatrical performance I have ever seen about that dark time… The actors astounded me with their intensity: you believe every second, every breath, every word…you can’t miss Still The Night.”
- Michele Landsberg, The Toronto Star
“Entertaining, enlightening…immensely energetic…powerful, insightful…a feminist story of heroism and survival.”
- Kate Taylor, The Globe & Mail
“An earthy homage to the human spirit…a celebration of survival and forgiveness that dares to look at the pricetag that both wear.”
- John Coulbourn, The Toronto Sun
Best New Play
- Total female inmate population of Nazi prisons, 1933-39: 6,000-8,000
- Number of German women convicted for political reasons, 1935-36: 300
- Main reasons for arrest of women (Jewish or not) before 1939: "asocial" or criminal behavior (prostitution, lesbianism, vagrancy, theft, murder, sexual intercourse between Aryans and Jews, political activities)
- Reason for arrest of Jewish women after 1939: Being Jews
- Number of hours per day jews were permitted to shop for food after November 1938: 1 hr. (Berlin), 30 min. (Leipzig)
- Number of hours per day Jews were required to perform compulsory conscript labor after November 1938: 10
- Items that Jews were forbidden to purchase as of 1940: Textiles, shoes, leather goods, fish, meat, coffee, alcohol, sweets, tobacco, eggs, fresh milk, ice cream, cut flowers.
- Goods confiscated from Jews, 1939-1942: radios, telephones, all electrical appliances, records, typewriters, bicycles, cameras, microscopes, etc.
- First centralized women's concentration camp created: Winter 1933 in Moringen
- Number of prisoners for which women's camp at Ravensbruck was designed: 15,000
- Number of prisoners held at women's camp at Ravensbruck: 42,000
- Percentage of Jewish women at Ravensbruck: 15%
- Year by which sex segregation of camps broke down: 1944 (late)
- First women to be held in Auschwitz: German prostitutes and Jewish girls from Slovakia
- Number of faucets for 2,000 women at camp in Auschwitz-Beirkenau (1943): 1
- Number of Jews in hiding at the time of liberation: 7,000
- Number of times artist Valerie Wolffenstien moved to evade detection: 18 in 2 years
- Number of Jews who fled Germany from 1933 to 1941: 270,000 to 300,000
- Percentage of German refugees to the US who were women (1933-1941): 50%
- Number of Jewish fugitives (from all countries) who survived the war: 5,500
- Years in which most Jews became partisans: 1942-43
- Approximate number of Jewish partisans: 100,000
- Years in which Soviet partisan movement was the most effective against the Nazis: 1943-1944
- Percentage of women in Soviet partisan detachments: 2 to 5%
- Most common "occupation" for women in Soviet partisans detachments: mistress
- Percentage of women in Bielski Partisan Unit: 30-40%
- Most common occupation for women in Jewish partisan units: information gatherers
- Number of Jewish partisans who survived the war: 30,000
- Number of Jewish partisans decorated for courage and heroism after the war: 18,000
- Percentage of Jewish population in Poland murdered by the Nazis: 90%
Eliach, Yaffa. "Women of the Holocaust: Historical Background.” Women’s Studies Encyclopedia. Ed. Helen Tierney. Greenwood press, 1989. Excerpt appears in Women of Valour Partisans and Resistance Fighters, Center for Holocaust Studies.
Friedman, Philip. "Jewish Resistance to Nazism: Its Various Forms and Aspects.” European Resistance Movements. New York: Pergamon Press, 1960. 150-214.
Laska, Vera, ed. Women in the Resistance and in the Holocaust: The Voices of Eyewitnesses. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983.
Milton, Sybil. "Women and the Holocaust: The Case of German-Jewish Women." The Nazi Holocaust. Part 6: The Victims of the Holocaust. v. 2ed. Michael R. Marrus. Westport: Meckler Corporation, 1989. 631-667.
Porter, Jack Nusan. “Introductions: Jewish Resistance in the Soviet Union." Jewish Partisans. Vol 1. Ed. Jack Nusan Porter. Washington: University Press of America, 1982. 1 - 36.
Tec, Nechama. Defiance: The Bielski Partisans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
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