About a year ago, my son Shaan came to me after finishing a book. He told me it was a really good story, but had a very sad ending. While Shaan enjoys reading, this was the first time I had seen a book bring out such a visible emotional reaction in him.
Following that, Reena and Tia went on to read the same book, and both raved about it. that book was "The boy in the striped pyjamas".
Last night we witnessed a stage performance of this story through the Dubai College drama department, and it was nothing short of outstanding.
It was an excellent opportunity for me to get to hear and see this story (being the only one left in my family who hadn't read the book).
This is a tragic story of an unlikely friendship between two boys living during the Second World War. Bruno, the son of a senior German officer and Shmuel, a young Jewish boy in a concentration camp. Excellently original in it's telling, this is not an obvious choice for a play to be acted out by young teens, but the DC drama department managed it, and to an exceptional standard.
The stage was in the middle of the auditorium and the audience sat on two sides of the stage. This was accomplished by a very simple set along with just a few, but very clever props and a team of efficient stage hands.
The actors did a superb job. The leads, played by boys no older than 14, kept focussed throughout and were totally convincing in their portrayals of Bruno and Shmuel, and the rest of the cast followed suit. We were totally lost in the moment and the actors put us right in the depths and horrors of World War 2 and the atrocities that went along with it.
We came away from the theatre full of the emotion that only great art can provide and the performance and the story remained the centre of our conversation for the entire evening.
My sincere congratulations and thanks to the Dubai College drama department for a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and Shaan, I fully understand the sadness you felt that day when you finished the book.