ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT
OVERVIEW OF THE PLAY:
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT speaks directly with a warning for today. Set during and after the Third Reich, a stylistic, surrealistic play inspired by interviews with German Gentile women. The play sweeps from their teen years through adulthood during the Holocaust and beyond. The Nazi Regime impacts the women's lives as they struggle over work, religion, marriage and motherhood. Making overwhelmingly hard choices, they survive or succumb to Hitler's Reign and are changed forever.
A sylistic, surrealistic play. Minimal set. Minimal props. An unconventional timeframe that jumps a chronological order.
WORLD PREMIERE 2005
Chicago Jewish Theatre, IL
2016 THL Theatre, Tel Aviv, Israel
2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Syracuse University Dept. of Drama
2009 Red Fern Theatre, New York City
2007 Ensemble Studio Theatre
2007 Culture Project, New York City
2007 Ensemble Studio Theatre, "Project 35", New York City.
2006 Traveling Jewish Theatre, Ashby Stages, Berkeley, CA
2006 Traveling Jewish Theatre, San Francisco, CA
2006 Culture Project and at Ensemble Studio Theatre’s “Project 35”, New York City.
2005 Staged Reading
Theatre J, Washington, DC,
2004, Screen Door Festival of Staged Readings
Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC
2003 New Theatre, Coral Gables, FL
New Play Staged Reading Series.
2003, Ensemble Studio Theatre
OCTOBERFEST NEW PLAY FESTIVAL
with Roberta Maxwell
2002, The Abingdon Playhouse, NYC
Developmental Second Draft Staged Reading
2002, The Actors Studio, NYC
AVAILABLE FROM: Samuel French
Women In The Third Reich: The Fascinating Backstory of Shirley Lauro's ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT
by Shirley Lauro
The New York Times announced on October 17, 2013, that “Hitler’s Furies: Nazism’s Feminine Side” a historical book by Wendy Lower, had been nominated for a National Book Award. On October 9, 2013, there had been a review of the book on the front page of the Times’ Arts Section by Dwight Garner entitled: “Hitler’s Furies”. Clearly the position of women in the Third Reich is news! It has come to the fore from its half submerged place in the history of Nazi Germany and World War II.
In 2006 a play of mine, ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT received both its World Premiere in Chicago and outstanding reviews. It was nominated by the Joseph Jefferson Committee as “Chicago’s Best New Play of the Year.” Subsequently it enjoyed both an off-Broadway premiere in New York and a year after, a revival New York production. Now it has had productions in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, and Saskatoon, among others. ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT joins Ms. Lower’s book in that it deals with the women of the Nazi era. The play centers on four German Gentile girls coming of age during Hitler’s Era, and The Regime’s impact on these young women's lives as they struggle over work, religion, marriage, motherhood, and The Regime itself. Making overwhelmingly hard choices, they survive or succumb to Hitler's Reign and are changed forever.
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT evolved from my deep interest in women and war that developed during my journey with A PIECE OF MY HEART. That play was inspired by published interviews of women who had served in the Vietnam War, and has been met with great acceptance. For that play, I researched, quickly finding books of interviews and first person accounts about women’s experience there. From these resources, I developed a chronological and topical structure for my play, and created my characters. As for structure, I quickly found the women all had common experiences in Nam: going to Nam, first day of work, relationships, Christmas, PTSD and other difficulties when back home.
Now interested in war history, and women in those wars, I wanted to probe the topic more deeply and expand the subject matter, so I turned to write of non-American women in war. What I first found was that very little had been written about any women in any war. Finally I turned to World War II . It was a war with such an all encompassing, dramatic and tragic impact on the world and with astronomical stakes on American, British, and French women involved, I imagined German Gentile women must have played a significant role! Also I felt that war had much contemporary relevance to today. Then I realized I had never read anything about the German Gentile women of The Reich, at all! Quite intriguing!
Research, was much more difficult than exploring the military women of Nam. My first hurdle was that though there was an abundance of books and interviews about Jewish female victims, and research on both male Nazis and male underground workers, there was little if anything about German Gentile women in Nazi Germany – especially material to help me create characters in a play: neither interviews, firsthand narratives, film, or tapes. After a long search, I did find enough firsthand accounts to spark my imagination to create the characters. The larger hurdle, however, was finding a structure. I had begun my career with realistic structures (one general time; one general place). “The Contest," “Open Admissions” and “Nothing Immediate” are representative of this. With A PIECE OF MY HEART, my structure began to shift, moving through time and place to accommodate the story of my characters. But to find a structure for ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, I sensed I would have to shift again. I could envision a play could indeed be told about these women. But finding a structure to anchor the characters and all their stories? Almost impossible! These women’s stories, submerged and hidden, had happened during such fantastical events! But in what context? I began to feel, that for me, the tales weren’t real – they were surreal –in fact they seemed like fairy tales!
Something clicked for me. I remembered fairy tales had always held a dominant place in German story telling. The German Grimm’s Brothers’ Tales were among the pioneer stories in the field of children’s literature since early 18th century: HANSEL AND GRETEL, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, RAPUNZEL, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, and many others. I recalled a college course I took that suggested the very seeds of Nazism – sadistic, brutal practices on the helpless – usually the young were in all these tales, accepted and ingrained in German children. I structured my play as a fairy tale: told from the present by the Story Teller who tells the audience a story from her big book, a story of what happened in her village during the War. Then as she sinks into the past, she calls up people and events that occurred then. I had found a structure! I now was able to merge the various experiences of the women in various places into one story that happened in one village. I decided to name my play ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, for both the German religious hymn, of course, and the characters sing the hymn in the play. But I also used the title because I found the phrase in my research -- part of a poem composed by a Jewish woman, Gertrud Kalmar, murdered in Auschwitz:
“The murderers are loose! They search the world. All through the night, oh God! All through the night.”
I am glad to join Wendy Lower in her study of this critically relevant aspect of World War II and am happy she was nominated for the 2013 National Book Award in History!
- Shirley Lauro is the author of ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT