Harlequin Carries the Word

Jeremy Garza, Reporter

The Eaglecrest Harlequin Players performed the intense play Who Will Carry the Word?, written by Holocaust survivor Charlotte Delbo in April 2019. The show follows the stories of women fighting to survive the Holocaust in a German concentration camp. The show was completely student-produced; with the Harlequin class acting in the show, completing all aspects of tech, and directing.

Who Will Carry the Word? is a powerful show with themes that are as relevant today as they were during the time when this play is set during World War 2. It centers around the struggle to keep the will to stay alive, a timeless fight people around the world are engaged in even today. The main character, Francois, was ready to give up after eight days and take her life. She was reminded that the little strength she had would help someone else in the concentration camp survive the harsh days they faced. The other characters die one-by-one around her throughout the show. In the end, there are only two women who remain alive in the camp when the show ends without giving the audience closure.

The stage the actors performed on was very simple. It had brown benches the characters slept on and moved as the show slid between days and nights. The floor was black and the main lighting was dim. The actors used their pure voice, without the aid of microphones, to show the raw emotions of their characters that they bonded with. The highlight of the technical design was the Edison light bulbs that hung from the catwalks above upstage. They represented life. As the women died a light would go out. During the climax of the show, when almost all the women died, the lights going out was just as powerful as the acting of the cast.

The directors, Noah Pruitt, Erin Cozort, and Anton Karabushin, did an exceptional job of magnifying both the pain and the strength of these women. Karabushin, a Sophomore, said, “Directing this show was a very foreign challenge to me. Having never lead the Harlequin Players in a production before, there was a lot of pressure that I put on myself to provide an atmosphere in which actors could get into their characters, but not get lost in the suffering of their characters.”

Playing a character who will face an untimely, painful death will always be difficult. Tessa Giles, a sophomore, said, “I asked myself who she was, not who I was playing her.” These actors felt the pain of their character through the words in this script.

This show could bring any audience to tears. It shows the power of humanity in Earth’s darkest times while showing the weakness of the individual. Kylee Hallada, a senior, said, “To try and get into the mindset of someone who had been sick in a concentration camp and seen people beaten and die, was so hard.” The agony these actors felt during this production was worth the story they told.