Holocaust memoir performance at University of Wollongong tonight

It's an extraordinary tale of surviving the Holocaust, losing loved ones and rebuilding a broken life, shattered by the tragedy of war and persecution.

Zdenka Fantlová’s story will play out on stage at the University of Wollongong at 6pm on Monday, in a one-woman show from the U.K.

The Tin Ring has been performed internationally by Jane Arnfield since 2011, testifying to the power of love and hope to recover from tragedy.

Ms Arnfield’s meeting with the 91-year-old Holocaust survivor four years ago motivated the actor to stage a play based on Ms Fantlová’s memoir.

‘‘Zdenka is one of the most pragmatic and charismatic human beings I have had the privilege to encounter,’’ Ms Arnfield said.

The strong responses to the play from audiences have emphasised the importance of story-telling, she said.

‘‘People appear to unwrap themselves in front of me and it is mesmerising to be part of.

‘‘Almost as though the audience need to offer something back after receiving Zdenka’s story.’’

When laws were introduced in Czechoslovakia, March 1939, to separate Jews from the rest of the population, Ms Fantlová held onto her boyfriend’s hand-made tin ring as a symbol of love and hope.

After their risky farewell meeting, they never met again.

She survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp but her mother was gassed in Auschwitz, and her father, brother and sister were shot dead.

Now living in London, Ms Fantlová spent 20 years in Melbourne where she married and had a daughter.

Ms Arnfield said although The Tin Ring was a one-woman show, she doesn’t work alone.

In addition to working with U.K. director Mike Alfreds and the production team, the audience were co-creators of the work, she said.

‘‘Theatre is always about collaboration,’’ she said.

‘‘I can see everyone, that is important.

‘‘I have to see the audience to play the play with them, to see and hear and react to their individual and collective actions, their reactions – their needs.

‘‘Humans are collaborative, therefore theatre follows suit.’’

The Tin Ring will be performed on Monday, December 9, at 6pm, Lecture Theatre 2, Building 20 at the University of Wollongong.

Entry is free.

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