Nine Suitcases

9 Suitcases

Nine Suitcases by Béla Zsolt;
translated by Ladislaus Löb
Adapted for the stage and performed by David Prince
Original music composed and performed by Bethan Morgan
Directed by Lynn Hunter
Costume supplied by Jess Keeler

Nine Suitcases started off as a production for Welsh Fargo’s On the Edge series, performed at Chapter, Cardiff and at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, in March 2011. That same year we had the opportunity of taking Nine Suitcases to the Edinburgh Fringe, where the production received two 5-star reviews; and, crucially, was seen by ACW staff, who advised us to apply for project funding. Our application was successful, enabling the company to tour small-scale theatre venues across Wales (2011/12); and to take the production to the Hungarian Cultural Centre, Covent Garden and to the New North London Synagogue. The success of this tour cemented commitment within Mercury Theatre Wales, leading to its becoming a permanently established company.

Béla Zsolt was an anti-establishment Hungarian-Jewish author and journalist. Labelled ‘decadent’ by his enemies, his output included poetry, countless articles and seven novels. The protagonist in Nine Suitcases is a thinly disguised version of Zsolt himself. He presents us with a minimally fictionalised account of his own experience as a Hungarian Jew suffering Nazi and Hungarian Fascist persecution during WWII. Incarcerated in a Jewish ghetto in 1944, he became involved in an audacious but unlikely plan to escape deportation to Auschwitz …


Friday 10th June 7.30pm –  Penarth Pier Pavilion, Penarth £10/£8

Wednesday 22nd June 7.30pm – The Vault, No Sign Bar, Wind St., Swansea £10/£8 OTD

Saturday 2nd July 7pm – The Old School Hall, St.Dogmael’s, Pembrokeshire £5 OTD

Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd July 7pm – The Town Hall Chambers, Henley Fringe Festival £9


Reviews and Audience Feedback

“Actor David Prince and musician Bethan Morgan carry the action superbly … Prince’s physical performance encompasses Zsolt’s conflicted humanity, shifting voices and movement to portray the various characters … Morgan’s music impressively reinforces the tone and experiences. A compelling close-up on the Holocaust, this play is equally quest and character study, with both sides wonderfully produced.”
(ThreeWeeks: Katie Cunningham)

“There is never any self-indulgence … Prince’s character accepts his fate without the least complaint … no plucking of heart-strings here … an intensely powerful production.”
(Edfringereview: Helen Catt)

“A fantastically crafted exploration of the darkest moments of human history”.
(Edfringereview: David Knowles)

“The performance of Nine Suitcases was remarkable for its simple and moving staging, its stirring music and its marvellous acting …but what was most striking of all was the depth of empathy for the suffering of another people …”
(Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, New North London Synagogue)

“(David Prince) was able to create an entire world, astonishing for such a prolonged period and took the whole audience with him on the journey.”
(Helen Wilkins, English lecturer, Coleg Glan Hafren – now Cardiff & Vale College)

Images: Claire Cousins