My parents told me, when I spoke to them on the phone, that I don’t need to spend this entire trip thinking about WWII, and that I am, in effect, “continuing something that never should have been disrupted” – that is, the presence of Jews in Poland.
Even their names now appearing in the database of the Polish police system is somehow part of that return. We have not been eliminated from history, from Europe, or from Poland. I found this very uplifting and shared it with some of my friends here at the conference, and they agreed that it was a good way to look back and forward.
But today, my policy of “I’m not going to read anything about what these plays are beforehand so that I am a completely surprised audience member” backfired when I learned, two minutes before curtain, that this evening’s play was by Sarah Kane, and all about concentration camps. I turned in my ticket at the door and walked back to my housing.
I saw no reason to go into that theater when the reality of that story is all around me. I didn’t come to Poland to see someone else’s representation of my family’s history. I came to make my own.
So I’m at home tonight. Maybe it’s good to have one evening without a play.