No Way Out Reader’s Theater Suggestions/Information
No Way Out can be performed as a class reading, a readers’ theatre or a full scale play. Transparencies made from images in the script can be shown on an overhead projector. With access to an LCD projector, a PC computer and a large screen, the enclosed CD Rom can be used for a more sophisticated, high tech slide presentation.
There are 8 primary characters plus 4 who do not speak. Additionally, a young girl, about 3-5 years old, can be used, if available, for the part of Miriam who does not read. A baby blanket or diaper bag can be used to represent Gerda’s infant son, Denny in a subtle way.
Creative lighting can be used to highlight the faces of the readers, define stage locales and separate the narrator from the readers.
Permission is granted to adjust the script to meet specific needs and time constraints. For example, Stefan’s diary entries can be eliminated without a loss of continuity.
An old trunk can be used as a coffee table with chairs surrounding it to replicate a living room. Later as the family emigrates, each one takes with him, or her, an old suitcase (and in the case of my grandparents, the trunk) which becomes their seat in the new locale. Items like those found in a living room of a German Jewish family could be used as props. Family members would “pack” these into the suitcases as they leave. Eventually, those who are left behind are surrounded only by empty chairs. The script is designed so that Bolivia, the United States and Germany are indicated by various areas on stage. A full stage production can include a more elaborate set. Stage and music directions in the script are meant only as suggestions.
The laws, photographs and events that are displayed via computer or overhead projector can be read aloud by “Nazis” or displayed only on the screen. With the computer, there is sound (which can be eliminated) that replicates a typewriter as if typed impersonally at Nazi headquarters by a bureaucrat.
Deutsch (Doitsch); Gerda (Gairda); All “w” sounds are pronounced as a “v” as in Erwin and ‘Wessig. Margot (“t” is silent).
Costume pieces such as hats, scarves, shawls etc. can be used in opening scenes to demonstrate styles and lifestyle. Later they can show how things changed as family members, especially Gerda and Heinz, were left with only meager belongings. In a more elaborate production, full costumes can be used. In a classroom production, simple black clothes would be appropriate for all.
Memorization of the script is not necessary but familiarity with the characters and the letters is important.
For productions of No Way Out Readers’ Theatre in schools, permission is hereby granted for the producer or teacher to make a single copy of the script for each actor and technical crew member.