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Running TIme: 60 minutes
About the Play
Distant Survivors was conceived and adapted for the stage by director June Prager, based on Holocaust poetry by William Heyen. In this poetic drama, we see the past through the eyes of a German-American who looks back on his ancestral heritage and tries to come to terms with it.
Never Forget! Never Again!
We are experiencing the polarization of America, along with the rise of anti-Semitism across the globe, resulting in an increase of attacks, verbal and physical, against Jews, Muslims, and immigrants. The testimonials for Distant Survivors speak to the power of theatre to deepen our understanding of “the Other” and create a spark towards dialogue and communion.
Man40’s: American of German descent; costume – jeans, shirt, and lightweight jacket Caretaker:50’s – 60’s Eastern European Jewish survivor; costume – work pants, shirt, and cap NS: 30’s – 40’s; Nazi Soldier; costume – black pants, shirt, boots, and leather jacket and a Nazi helmet Man 2: 60’s – 70’s; German Jewish survivor; costume – dark brown suit Woman:50’s – 60’s; Eastern European Jewish survivor; costume – long skirt, top, and shawl
Excerpt from the play:
Place: Bremerhaven, Germany
Set: Stage R - a stool; Stage RC – a ladder; Stage C – a bench; Stage L – a small black platform (or black cubes)
Lighting: white and steely blue
Pre-set: on bench and dock area
House music: Eastern European folk music; begins about 10 minutes prior to starting time
SCENE ONE: Bremerhaven
House music fades and house lights go out.
LIGHTS: The bench and dock area comes up to full. The Man enters from Stage R, moving toward platform area. He’s holding a map.
Canes and armless coats
haunt these German streets
I force myself to walk.
Factories smoke the sky....
A few days ago,
I saw those Bremerhaven graves.
honor our simpler dust.
I almost knelt to save
a leaf of ivy. I even heard
the dead were glad
that I’d returned.
Man climbs up onto the platform. He moves to its edge and looks out.
The line of WWI veterans,
My mother’s father among them,
stood at attention on a Bremerhaven dock.
Gusts of brine wind lapped
at the Fuhrer’s black leather coat,
but he took his time,
took each man’s hands in his own,
thanked each for his sacrifice. . .
For the first time, a woman is allowed to see
her wounded husband, brought back from the East.
She finds him mutilated, missing an ear,
half his face, an arm. “It’s the Jews,”
she screams. “it’s all the Jews’ fault.”
Man comes off the platform and sits down on bench.
He looks toward the audience.
A Poetic Drama
by June Prager
Adapted from the Poetry
of William Heyen
Print Copies: 13.95 USD
E-Copies: 11.00 USD
Production Copies: 11.00 USD
Please choose the print copy or e-copy from the drop-down menu below. (Shipping is included in the print cost.)
All our plays are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced or produced without permission. E-copies are sent via email within 24 hours of receipt of purchase.
“Distant Survivors is quintessential Heyen poetry; incendiary, intransigent, challenging and provocative.” Joyce Carol Oates
“I and members of St. John's Lutheran Church were extremely blessed to experience Mirage Theatre Company's "Distant Survivors." Set 50 year after the Holocaust, the play reminds us how anti-Semitism lurks in human hears in our current global surroundings. The play reminds us how anti-Semitism still lurks in human hearts in our current global surroundings. ” Pastor Daniel B. Ward, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church
“Heyen is himself an American. But he is an American who is the son of a German of the generation which produced the Nazis and the nephew of a Nazi flyer shot down over Russia, and the question, What is man?, becomes for him the more agonizing question, What am I?” Archibald MacLeish
“We were honored that you allowed us to participate in this great production.” Rabbi Hanoch Hecht, Jewish Community Center of Dutchess County/Hudson Valley Community Center
“Bill Heyen’s poetry is important for people to hear, especially for college students who are ready to grapple with the same issues as he does in his poetry.” Abby Johnson, Education Chair, Vassar Jewish Union Board Religious and Spiritual Life, Vassar College
"The play is a masterful and compelling weave of history, poetry, and second generation witnessing. The work explores with sensitivity and depth the stance of a second generation German-American who feels the burden of the Holocaust…a profound and moving theatrical experience." Jan Zlotnik Schmidt, SUNY/New Paltz Distinguished Teaching Professor
“The play is a powerful response to the Holocaust. It uses the poetry of one of our leading English language poets of the day to create a memorable and moving experience. But its importance is not confined to its dramatic excellence. In an era of mounting denials of the historicity of the Holocaust, June Prager's play offers an opportunity to educate new sub-communities within our English-speaking cultural sphere about the horrors of the Nazi program of dehumanization and genocide.” Dr. Michael Panitz, Rabbi, Temple Israel, Norfolk, VA and Professor of Religion, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.
“The Fellowship is proud to have been part of the early development phase of this project and supports Mirage Theatre's efforts to bring it to wider and wider audiences. We believe that events like "Distant Survivors" can help us all remember what happened during the Holocaust, to recognize the fact that we have, individually and collectively, the power to confront evil and possibly to prevent future atrocities.”. Pat Lamanna, Social Justice Committee Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie
For information about productions, please contact
Blue Moon Plays LLC
4876-118 Princess Anne Road #208
Virginia Beach, VA 23462-4499
Mirage Theatre Company