Charlotte Delbo (1913-1985) became a member of the resistance shortly after the fall of France. Captured in 1942, she was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in January 1943. Of the 230 prisoners in her convoy, all of them women in the French Resistance, less than a quarter survived the war. After a year at Auschwitz and one of its sub-camps, Delbo was sent to Ravensbrück, by far the largest camp exclusively for women, as well as the most notorious (almost 100,000 prisoners died there). Delbo returned to France after liberation and recuperation and dedicated her later life to writing memoirs and plays that were inspired by her experiences during the war.
Who will Carry the Word? is set in an unnamed Nazi death camp that Delbo based on Auschwitz-Birkenau. It follows a group of prisoners, all of them women, and chronicles the erosion in their numbers. The play is set out to be stark and simple: no sets; no makeup; very simple costume. In this, and in the plot, it mirrors what existence was truly like in the death camps.
Charlotte Headrick, a professor emeritus at OSU, was a major figure in Theatre Arts during her three decades of service to this university. A strong advocate of Holocaust education, she created a course on the Holocaust in Drama and directed more than a half-dozen plays that were produced in association with Holocaust Memorial Week. She has come out of retirement to direct Who will Carry the Word? a play that she has long admired.
Who will Carry the Word? will be performed as readers’ theater.