Breaking The Silence @ C Nova
Should we dwell on our past, let it take over our lives in an attempt to commemorate and understand our history, or should we ignore it completely and live only in the enjoyment of the here and now? Is that even possible?
The women of three generations raise these questions in Breaking the Silence as the young granddaughter tries to understand her grandmother's history during World War II, and her mother runs terrified from the truth. It is an incredibly well acted piece that makes it easy to imagine these three women as a family; their similarities are their differences and they push and push each other until they've all pushed too far. What's not quite so clearly explained is the fourth wall-breaking character – the grandmother's brother lost in the Holocaust – who lives in the background of the play. His presence is definitely felt, giving a face and a name to those who did not escape the concentration camps, and he roots the play in the past. It is a strong theatrical device, but maybe it is just too obvious that he functions as a device rather than furthering the plot. He gives away the answer to the question as to how the play thinks we should remember before the audience has really had a chance to make up their own minds. However, regardless of what direction it leads you in, the play remains an important look at what the tragedies of the war mean to families today and reminds us that, as the last affected generation begins to disappear, the world is moving on. But at what cost? [Emma Ainley-Walker]