The Kansas City Actors Theater is now showing “Four Children” at the City Stage at Union Station.
The 65-minute, emotional play is inspired by the journal entries of four young children, each going through hardships and trying to survive genocides in their homelands.
Their accounts of these horrific events come from the atrocities committed by Hitler and Nazi Germany during the Holocaust and the genocides that occurred in Cambodia, Armenia and Sarajevo.
The show features actors Victor Raider-Wexler, Marisa B. Tejada, Vi Tran and Kathleen Warfel reading the journal entries, accompanied by beautiful live strings.
The four actors take turns going back and forth in short bursts of reading the passages from the childrens’ perspectives. They brought to life the accounts of their dark experiences recorded in the diaries.
Warfel began the show by reading the horrific accounts adapted from “When Broken Glass Floats” by Chanrithy Him. The excerpts detailed Him’s firsthand experiences living through the infamous killing fields of the Cambodian genocide and her family’s life in the labor camps.
Raider-Wexler followed with selections from “The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak,” which depicts the nightmares of living in a Polish ghetto during the Holocaust.
Tejada then read from “My Childhood Under Fire.” The book details the diary of Nadja Halilbegovich, a survivor of the Bosnian War and genocide in Sarajevo. In the final piece, Tran read from the diary of Vahram Dadrian, a young boy who lived through the Armenian genocide.
The readings all appeared to follow a chronological order, where the actors and actresses started by recalling the background information of each child, and how the countries and their families found themselves amidst these atrocities.
These childrens’ accounts, bravery and voices remind us how fragile life is and how tragedies like these can and do happen everywhere in our world.
While the play was filled with melancholy and sorrow, you learn just how strong these people were in times of absolute destruction and hate. Their accounts are a testament to the human spirit and the will to survive.
The play will be shown at The City Stage at Union Station until it closes this Sunday, Oct. 24.
Tickets can be purchased here, and proof of vaccination must be provided at the door upon entry to watch the play.