Hannah Moscovitch’s play, The Children’s Republic stakes out its ground unmistakably. Actually, as well: When the gathering of people enters the theater it sees the words “”Warsaw 1939″” composed on the stage floor. When it returns after the break, the words have changed to “”Warsaw 1942.”” Since the key setting is a Jewish orphanage, we realize what we’re in for. The vagrants themselves start the second demonstration by chalking on a divider the new limitations that bind them to the ghetto. They at that point mostly deface them, in a quiet grouping injected similarly with edginess and disobedience.
The play, commissioned jointly by the Great Canadian Theatre Company and the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, is to some extent a festival of and dedication to Dr. Janusz Korczak, who ran the shelter and was a pioneer in the support of youngsters’ rights, physical and moral. In one of the most punctual scenes, he holds a receiver against the chest of one of his charges and declares to concealed examiners “”this is the way a tyke’s heart sounds within the sight of grown-ups”” ‘” a great line that I rushed to record, just to find that it had been imprinted in the program, twice. Scarcely less full is Korczak’s reason for changing himself from doctor to instructor: “You can’t cure destitution with Headache medicine.”
These might be immediate quotes from source ‘” Moscovitch confesses to lifting a couple ‘” yet that would simply demonstrate she knows how to obtain and in addition how to compose and build. She holds the uncommon capacity to portray substantial chronicled subjects on little local canvases, without debasing the first or expanding the second. This is the best new Canadian play in a longish time. But at the same time it’s second-level Moscovitch in which the creator’s plan,
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