I very nearly didn't go: I'd had a long day at school, had missed lunch, was tired and aching (damp weather does this to me) and I was contemplating a meal out instead, or possibly a takeaway, but in the end, curiosity got the better of me.
I'm very pleased that I changed my mind: the acting was superb (and the chap playing Kolbe was uncannily like him to look at) and I hardly noticed the time whizz by. The play was in two acts (I think... I'm not really into the terminology) with the first act concentrating on a brief "biography" of Kolbe and the events leading to his martyrdom. There were one or two scenes with the chap who was saved by Kolbe's heroic act: anyone unfamiliar with the story would have found the changes from one time period to another rather confusing: in my tired and befuddled state I took a while to cotton on, but soon got the hang of it. I am rather hampered by my preference for stories to progress in a linear fashion!
The end of the first act is Kolbe's death... several of the audience hadn't realised there would be an interval, and so when refreshments were announced, we were rather surprised at the abrupt "ending." The second act concentrated on Franciszek Gajowniczek, the person saved by Kolbe, and his reaction to being saved.
This was one of the most moving parts in a very moving play. Quite apart from the amazing story, the bit that brought tears to my eyes was the scene between a journalist and Franciszek. She was very hostile, and asked, in a sarcastic manner, what he'd done with his life since being saved by Kolbe. On finding out that he'd been a civil servant in the local town hall for twenty years ("err, twenty-one years" corrected Franciszek) the journalist asked why he had been saved by Kolbe, when Kolbe was such a great man, with such a fine intellect, and with so many achievements to his name, and all Franciszek had done with his life was to "push a pen around!"
"Why you? What's special about you? He could have saved anybody..."
"That's precisely the point," Franciszek answered: "He could have saved anybody. He chose to save a nobody..."
I spoke to the person in charge of sound and lighting at the interval, and asked for permission to use the pictures on my blog: I also asked if there was a website. The Ten Ten Theatre visits schools and community centres, and they seem to do a couple of pro-life/pro-chastity plays. They have a website, but there doesn't appear to be anything up on it yet... I was also told to check out Ten Ten Productions (but that's similarly afflicted.) I did manage to find a leaflet that gave an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyway, the blurb on the back of the leaflet explained that:
"ten ten theatre exists to advance the social, moral, spiritual and cultural education of children, young people, young offenders, prisoners, teachers and the general public through drama and the performing arts.
"We visit schools and community venues throughout the UK and are a non-profit-making company."
I would heartily recommend seeing anything this group put on!
UPDATE: Whatever was wrong with the links appears to have been ironed out, and both of them are now active. Information on Kolbe's Gift can be seen via the Ten Ten Productions link above, or directly from HERE.