NICOLA Werenowska’s powerful exploration of displacement and identity across three generations of a Polish family, Silence, reaches the end of its ten-venue tour at Salisbury, where it is on stage at the Salberg Studio until 17th November.
Maria lived in Warsaw as Poland was invaded by both Germany and Russia, and she and her husband were transported to Siberia, from where they escaped with their infant daughter Ewa across the Caspian Sea and finally to Reading.
There Ewa has married an English doctor, had a daughter, Anna and immersed herself in the identity of her new country.
With the inclusion of the newly opened up Poland into the EU, Anna has hopes of making a fresh life for herself in Warsaw.
All three women are on the stage for most of the play, which takes them back and forwards in time as their stories and their secrets reveal themselves, ghosts of their past emerge and disappear and they reach an understanding of their common heritage.
Sensitively directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s associate director Jo Newman, Silence is brilliantly performed by Tina Gray, Kate Spiro and Maria Louis. They embody the awkward closeness of a family which has been riven by obscured recollections and much-rehearsed stories.
As Jo Newman writes in her programme notes, the perceptions of the Polish immigration to England during and after the Second World War are woefully under-informed. Now, at a time when new generations are looking at the reality of immigrants and world disorder, it’s even more essential to look at the realities of trying to live and assimilate in a country that is not your own homeland.