The Dentist is not an easy play to watch. Not an easy play to listen to, either. Or to feel. I would imagine it is also not an easy one to perform. But it is really worth the effort.
As a one woman show, the whole weight of the performance falls onto Razia’s shoulders. With just the help of the lighting and the music, Razia manages to keep the attention of the audience during the seventy minutes that the play lasts. The audience has to play its part too, as it is sometimes difficult to let yourself open up to the story.
Gideon Greif’s book -”We wept without tears”- gathering the testimonies of several Jewish sonderkommando from Auschwitz, struck and inspired Raiza. She decided to write, together with Chaim Marin, and out of the interviews with the daughters of three of the sonderkommando men, the particular story of Rosie, the daughter of The Dentist’s working at crematorium No.2, a Jew from Salonika, and her family.
Rosie’s monologue to her dead father takes us through their relationship with flashbacks into their past. As the story evolves, we start understanding the background of her dad and its effect on himself and Rosie’s whole family. And how love and hate can walk hand by hand and how terrible the consequences of such a horrendous past can be.
Razia’s performance throughout the entire play goes from emotional to shocking, sometimes even funny, and leaves a kind of unsettled feeling, as good plays often do. The audience was moved and the applause was long.
The subsequent questions and answers session simply enriched the play in many different aspects. Razia shared her conversations with the daughters she interviewed and the way she built her play from pieces of their different lives, including her own. The consciousness of the reality in the story can not be other than perturbing.
Furthermore, Razia’s purpose of educate and make new generations aware of this part of our history, gives the play an undeniable extra value.
Seen 9 May 2012 in the Paradijs Theatre – Koninklijke Schouwburg – The Hague