Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Girl in the Striped Pajamas

In Assumption Iloilo, playfests for CAE (Communication Arts in English) and CAF (Communication Arts in Filipino) are held annually. The CAF plays are as follows: Ibong Adarna for First Year, Florante at Laura for Second Year, Noli Me Tangere for Third Year, and El Filibusterismo for Fourth Year. For CAE plays, we have plays written by Filipino scriptwriters for First Year, Asian plays for Second Year, Shakespearean plays for Third Year, and original plays for Fourth year. 

These plays aren't the little-skits-usually-done-in-classrooms-and-last-for-five-minutes sort. Our playfest is a big production in the third quarter, and we don't usually hold classes in CAE and CAF anymore, because our grades rely on our individual roles as part of cast and crew, and the class as a whole.

Every year, I take part in the plays as an actress, except in third year. Other than that, I also became scriptwriter for some plays and programme designer in one (while an actress, too! Haha). 

My most unforgettable play was our Fourth Year play, The Girl in the Striped Pajamas. It was a play inspired by The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (obviously). Arianna was the one who suggested The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and it got the most number of votes, but the play had to be original, so we scriptwriters tweaked the plot a bit, renamed every character, revised the script, and added and deleted some scenes. 

I was supposed to be the assistant director that year, but I really liked the main role so I auditioned for it, got the role, and my spot was given to Sharky, who I think deserves it better than I. 

Frieda Austerlitz

Set during the second world war, The Girl in the Striped Pajamas is a story seen through the eyes of an eight-year-old girl, daughter of one of Hitler's newly-promoted commandants of a concentration camp. Their family moved to a totally new place because of Frank's new job, and Frieda and her sister Wiktoria was forced to stop school and study at home.

Frieda was exploring the house when she saw what she thought was a farm outside her sister's window. She saw people in "pajamas" working there, and she often asked her mother if she could visit the "farmers". What they both did not know was that was actually an extermination camp for the Jews. Her mother never allowed her to go past the gate that lead to the camp, but curious and adventurous explorer-want-to-be Frieda often went out when her mother wasn't around. There, she met Tahlia, a Jewish girl her age. 

With Tahlia
 I don't want to tell the whole story because it's going to be really long, so I'll go straight to the point and on with the important parts.

Behind the scenes with Trim
Frieda and Tahlia became really close friends, despite being a German and a Jew and the fence preventing them to come in contact with each other. Frieda often brought Tahlia food to eat, and toys to play with. One day, Tahlia was in Frieda's house cleaning the glasses and Nathan, a young soldier, caught them in between their conversation. Frieda swore she never knew Tahlia before and that she wasn't the one offering her food and accused Tahlia of stealing. Tahlia got beaten up right after. When Frieda went back to visit Tahlia, she had a big bruise and open wound on her eye. Tahlia informed Frieda that her father had been missing for days and Frieda promised she'd help her find him to repay for what she did. 

Rolling on dirt with the Jews

Along with time, Frieda's mother got more frantic about her husband's extermination of Jews and thought the place wasn't safe for children, so she decided to move back to where they used to live. On the day they were supposed to leave, Frieda ran to the camp and Tahlia handed her a pair of "pajamas" so she could blend in with the Jews. She slipped herself under the fence and ran hand-in-hand with Tahlia in search for Tahlia's father. In the middle of the searching, the soldiers ordered the Jews to enter a room and told them it was "only a shower". They were asked to strip off their clothes and a few seconds after that, they died in the gas chamber which they had in mind was a shower room.

When the family almost left, Frieda missing, Frank (Frieda's father) ran to the camp, knowing it was the only place she must have gone to. He was all too late.

Another behind the scenes photo with my classmates

"Mother, may I go to the farm?"

With the Jew that used to be a doctor

With Kristi, our director

We thought we couldn't handle drama, because our class was more of the comedy type. We had fights.We had the worst TDR (Technical Dress Rehearsal) and most of us gave up after that, knowing we'd never win unless a miracle happened. Well, I guess a miracle did happen during the playfest. The audience impact was amazing, and we made a lot of them cry. Talk about resilience. We won overall best play!

Hello, MME! I miss you all so much!


  1. Where's your backpack from? It's cute!

  2. My dad bought it for Mom in Hong Kong. She never used it. :P

  3. I remember throwing mud at the Jews before the play. It was really fun out of all that stress. Memories. :)