at the Prague Fringe Festival 26 – 30 May 2008
Na Pradle theatre (Divadlo Na Prádle)
adapted by Alex Went
performed by Shrewsbury School
The explosion of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 was an international tragedy. But it led to a significant and inspiring discovery: Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon had taken with him a drawing by a young Jewish boy from Hitler’s death-camps; and the news of the shuttle’s destruction led directly to the discovery of the boy’s diary, lying forgotten in a Prague attic.
Like the Diary of Anne Frank, Petr’s journal paints a vivid picture of ordinary family life at an extraordinary time. Prague is an occupied city, with the feared Reinhard Heydrich at its helm. Streets and newspapers are filled with acts of sabotage, courage and defiance against a brutal regime. But as the months pass, a terrible fear descends. Friends and relations are summoned every day to the transport trains which will take them first to Theresienstadt and later to the concentration camps in Poland.
But despite the terror, young Petr Ginz lives his life as he always has: drawing, writing, joking, experimenting: he wants to be a scientist, a novelist, a world-famous explorer. His diary is a record of extraordinary personal resistance, and a testament to a loving family who wait with him, while the world turns dizzily around, for a knock upon the door.
Alex Went has adapted this work from the diary – the first dramatization to be approved by Petr’s sister Eva – and will direct the play at this year’s Prague Fringe Festival. He has a reputation as an adapter of work for Fringe theatre and recently won praise for his version of Bohumil Hrabal’s Too Loud a Solitude.
Shrewsbury School is one of England's oldest and largest boys' boarding schools, set high on the banks of the River Severn in Shropshire and overlooking an ancient town. The school prides itself on the quality of its theatrical productions, which are held in high regard at the Edinburgh Festival, where they tour every two years, and increasingly in London, where two home-grown musicals have been presented at Covent Garden.
For tickets, please see www.fringe.cz and www.ticketstream.cz.
For further information on The Diary of Petr Ginz, please visit www.closelyobservedproductions.blogspot.com or e-mail Paul Hamm at email@example.com or ring Alex Went on 07803 610839 (+44 7803 610839).