Herod’s Children

Author(s):

This play is about a group of children—with the wrong king of grandparents—in Nazi-dominated Vienna. They try to escape to freedom, to adjust to brutal, senseless regulations—or to console each other. They accept Ellen, the central character, dubiously. Her status is "Undetermined"—after all, she had only one, or possibly two, "wrong grandparents"—but she is Jewish by choice. Ellen brings her crayon-drawn visa to the American Consul to sign. "I can't let my mother go to America alone," she explains. "Who would she peel an apple for if I can't go? And whom would she slap when she can't bear it any more?" Ellen is so sensitive, loyal and courageous that she is dominant in the group. "It's all a matter of who your grandparents are" they explain to Ellen. But they wait by the river. A child might fall in. If they save it, perhaps they'll be allowed to sit on the park benches again like the other children—or even the merry-go-round! As they all proceed from childhood into their teens, the others are terrified by the war and the consequenses of wearing the Star. Ellen is determined at any cost to wear it. She sees and makes them see, too, that the yellow star with the tiny word 'JEW' in the center is the talisman that will lead to the blue city, New York, where love and peace abide.
Format: Full-length drama
Cast Size: 7M/9F
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Snapshot

Original Source Material: From the novel by Ilsa Aichinger.
Nationality of Author:
Original Language: English
Production Rights Holder:

Dramatic Publishing

Experience(s) Chronicled: |

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