A Play in Two Acts
Set in Toronto in 1948, a Jewish family, struggling to recover from the
horrors of the war in Europe, finally has cause to rejoice. Ruth is about to be
reunited with the only surviving member of her immediate family–her
brother Freddie. But when she goes to Union Station to meet him she is faced
with the most devastating shock of her young life: the brother she was
expecting turns out to be a stranger; an imposter holding her brother’s
papers. Suddenly she and the family with whom she lives are forced into a
situation that is almost impossible to resolve: if they abandon this displaced
person they condemn him to more pain, more suffering and risk the
possibility of his being deported. For Joe, the patriarch of the family, there is no choice: to save one live
is to save the world. He takes this enigmatic “Freddie” into his home, and calls upon himself and the other
members of the household to embark on finding some way of living with their suspicions, their anger and their
guilt. At what point do you stop helping your fellow man? Should there be a line between “blood” and “water”?
Where does responsibility end? The play follows the paths of Ruthie, Joe and the rest of the family as they come
to terms with what it means to accept, to forgive and to survive.
The title is a Talmudic reference to the hope that exists for humanity. When a person does a good deed that (s)he doesn’t need to do, God looks down and says “for this moment alone it was worth creating the world”.
4 M, 5F
Based on a true story.
All Rights Reserved 2011
This play is published and represented by Dramatists Play Service
Premiere Production: Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton, Ontario March 2011