of the novel by Aharon Appelfeld. It contains so many characters
it can only be performed by a National Theatre or University
Theatre Department with large resources.
It's a chilling novel. Badenheim is a spa
to which middle-class, bohemian Jews have been coming year
after year. At its centre is an arts festival. In 1939 strange
happenings occur. Sanitary inspectors gradually take over
the spa and inform it's Jewish residents that soon they'll
be going to Poland.
Barbed wire springs up around the small town,
guard dogs proliferate, other Jews appear, herded into the
area, and the facilities begin to break down or cease to function.
Over the summer the spa falls to pieces.
On the last day all the Jews are marched to
the station for transport to Poland. Some are quite looking
forward to the journey. They imagine it will be a train that
takes them to their destination. When cattle trucks draw up,
the festival organiser, ever optimistic, observes: