Play number four of our 2016/17 season ticket was Kindertransport, this year’s serious drama. It was indeed very serious, an intense play with very few light moments. Of course this is to be expected from the subject matter, and certainly we weren’t expecting a light-hearted comedy.
We live through Eva’s trauma and recovery, and how that effected herself and her relationships within her family. There were so many points where I had tears rolling down my face, as recovery seemed impossible. The actors were very powerful, in what must have been an emotionally tiring play.
In terms of angles on the impact of war theme, this stood in sharp contrast to Pals, which had been a story about men’s friendships, as instead a story about women’s family bonds. My only sorrow is that the playwright ended it where she did. It could easily have turned more towards a reconciled note at the end, although of course that would lessen the impact.
All The Light We Cannot See is set against a backdrop of the rising Nazi party. It opens flicking between many of the narrators we will have over the course of the novel, setting the scene of the closing section of the novel, and putting all the pieces into play.
Then we flick back a decade and start again viewing the characters through innocent eyes. They start off as young children, we see how the war machine dehumanises everyone, from the soliders to civilians. But instead of focusing on the terrible motives of those who want to destroy, we see those children again, growing up. Some cling to their idealism, and some accept the grim realities and are swept up into that machine. Both approaches are convincing and heartbreaking.
I love the father-daughter bond Marie-Laure has with her father, and the ties that Werner has with his sister and friends, and how human they make the characters.
But the ending remains tense, despite the scene having been set at the start I found myself willing them not to end up where they did. Then the loose ends were tied up beautifully, and there is a real sense of satisfaction that everything has been tidily put away.