The War Chest
by Mark FrankT
Cast of Characters
Doi: 12, a little girl.
Nazi German soldier
Grandmother of Doi.
Various Jewish women-prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust
Adolph Hitler: German dictator during World War II
The action starts out in an attic of an old house, then propels backwards in time to Europe during the Holocaust.
SETTING: An old dark attic of a house. The attic is empty except for an old war chest covered with a tarp. A door is upstage right. The set should be nothing but the door and the war chest center stage.
AT RISE: A young girl, Doi, enters the attic. She is holding a framed picture of her grandfather. As she opens the door, light floods the room, illuminating the covered war chest. She is hesitant at first whether to proceed in the room any farther. A voice is heard in the background. It is Doi’s.
GRANDMOTHER: (Grandmother yells for Doi offstage, with a thick German accent.)
Doi, hurry up and put that picture in the attic. Don’t dawdle. We’ll be late for Grandpa’s funeral.
(Doi starts to leave but is intrigued by the object underneath the old tarp in the center of the attic. She approaches the tarp slowly. She puts the picture on the floor. It should face the audience. She takes the tarp off the chest. On the war chest is a German swastika. She looks back at the door. She slowly opens the war chest, and a stream of video of World War II and the Jewish Holocaust engulfs the stage. This video will play through-out the play. As the video plays, she starts to cry. She puts her hands over her eyes and falls forward into the chest as it closes. The lights go black for five seconds. When the lights come back up, Doi is standing in front of the war chest with her hands still over her eyes. She slowly removes her hands and finds herself in line with another woman dressed in a prison uniform. She has a Star of David armband on. She quickly puts one on Doi, who is confused. The woman tries to get Doi to be quiet and stand in line. A German soldier enters. He looks like the picture of the grandfather. Doi runs to hug him, yelling “Grandpa!” “Grandpa!” The soldier pulls her off of him and throws her to the ground. He points a German Lugar at her head ready to fire. He yells something in German. The woman from the line speaking in German pleads for Doi’s life. The woman is shot in the head. The soldier stares at Doi, who is in shock. The soldier leaves as Doi stares at the dead woman. Doi starts to wander and finds a coin. She receives some soup and bread from a German soldier who laughs at her as he takes her coin and exits. Before she can begin to eat, a woman pushes Doi down and steals her food. Doi starts to cry. The German soldier returns. He pulls out documents from his pocket. The German soldier violently escorts Doi into a room. A man is seated at a desk facing away from them. He turns around in his chair; it is Adolph Hitler. He sits silently for a while. The German soldier stands and salutes him. The soldier gives Hitler the documents. He looks them over and screams in German at the soldier, who pleads for his life. There is a long, silent pause as Hitler studies Doi. Hitler makes a gesture, and the soldier escorts Doi into another room where there are partial remains of dead bodies stacked next to a crematorium in a heap. The German soldier gives Doi a shovel, opens the crematorium, and instructs Doi to remove the ashes. A woman enters, and the soldier starts to kiss and maul her in front of Doi. He then breaks the woman’s neck as she falls to the floor. He prepares her body for the crematorium. Doi starts to scream and runs away. She has picked up the soldier’s gun. Machine gun fire and soldiers are heard around her. We hear one of Hitler’s famous speeches. Doi runs back into Hitler’s office. She stares at him, then points the gun at him. He kneels next to her, and she looks in his eyes. There is a long pause between the two. Hitler begins to laugh and grabs the gun out of Doi’s hands. He studies her, removes the Star of David from her arm, and replaces it with a German swastika. He looks at her with a hard stare. She begins to cry and puts her hands over her eyes. The lights fade for a moment, and when she removes her hands she is back in her attic. Classical music starts to play in the background. The video still engulfs the room. Doi still has the German swastika on her arm. She hears her Grandmother call for her. She takes her Grandfather’s picture out of the frame. She stares at it for a long time and then rips it up. She gathers the pieces and stares at them. She takes a deep breath and starts to cry. Grandmother enters. She runs to Doi and holds her. She looks around the room at the video engulfing them both. She sees the ripped photo of her husband in Doi’s hand. She slowly takes it out of her hand and puts it into the war chest. She then gently takes the swastika armband off of Doi and places it into the war chest. She hugs Doi again and shuts the war chest as the video fades out. The only light is from the open door upstage. Grandmother puts the tarp over the war chest as Doi helps. She grabs Doi’s hand, and they walk out of the room. Grandmother and Doi turn around and look one last time at the war chest. They look at each other, trying to read each other’s thoughts. Grandmother hugs Doi, then closes the door slowly as the lights and music fade out, and the play ends.)