© James Hyland 1998-2019
"Just to say thank you both for the amazing performance of the play at The Gatehouse last week. It was very moving and will stay with me for a long while. I was on duty as an usher and so wished people goodnight as they came out. It seemed that everyone was shell-shocked and deeply moved by the experience. I hope this play will keep doing the rounds for many years. Thank you again."
"I watched this tonight (7 May) at the Gatehouse in Stafford. The monstrosities of the holocaust have always been something that I’ve felt I need to know as much about as possible to try and understand how something like that can be caused by one man's idea of a perfect race. Your play was one of the most harrowing, and most amazing hours I have ever spent in a theatre. Both of you are stunning actors and I don't think you will ever get the applause you deserve because of the impact your play has on people... Thank you and I wish you all the luck with everything you do. If I could send everyone I know to see one thing and learn a little more about the holocaust it would be this play."
"Tonight was fantastic. To say Tracey and I enjoyed it isn't perhaps the best way of describing what we got from it but your and Michael’s performances were intense and riveting. To applaud at the end, after everything we'd seen, felt strange and uncomfortable but the applause was well deserved. This is a play that everyone needs to see - even now, sadly."
"My husband Les and I wish you much success with the play. We have no doubt that the production will be received with the great acclaim that it has already had and very much deserves. I have been reading some of the reviews on your website and everyone - like us, have been deeply moved by the story and brilliant acting of you both. It is imperative that the story of the horrors of Auschwitz remain alive so that they can never be forgotten and never be allowed to be repeated. Your amazing play goes a long way to ensure that this won't happen again. Break a leg!! With VERY best wishes."
~Ian Hassell & Les Creswell
"I spent the following evening watching @BrotherWolfUK's terrifying, haunting, unforgettable ‘A Lesson From Auschwitz’ performed by two absolutely outstanding actors @JamesHylandUK and @MichaeljShon."
~Sue Odell, Casting Director, @scorpioredhair
"I found 'A Lesson from Auschwitz' the most disturbing play I’ve ever seen. You brought it to Stafford a couple of years ago and I still feel the enormous shock of seeing Rudolf Höss talking the way he did. And I let him! If you come back to a town near us I will persuade my family and friends to come with me. Thank you for this amazing play and very best wishes to you as you take it out to new audiences. Many thanks."
"An outstanding performance by Brother Wolf Productions at the Mill Arts Centre last night. ‘A Lesson from Auschwitz’, an extremely powerful and thought provoking show. Long will it be remembered. Thank you."
~Four Shires Magazine
"Excellent, thought-provoking performance tonight! So glad we braved the snow to watch you!"
"Went to see 'A Lesson from Auschwitz' on Saturday evening. A very brutal and shocking yet totally compelling play, acted out superbly by James Hyland and Michael Shon. From the moment it started to its finale, I was totally immersed. This play needs to be seen."
"Thought provoking show. Excellent performances."
"My partner and I came to see the play 'A Lesson From Auschwitz' on Saturday evening at The Courtyard Theatre in Hereford, and felt that we must write to tell you and your co-star what a brilliant performance it was. The atmosphere was created as soon as we entered the theatre and the acting of both yourself and Michael Shon was excellent. How very appropriate that we should see the play on Armistice Day and we were encouraged to see a number of young people in the audience, for whom the atrocities of Auschwitz would be something to read about in history. You and Michael brought it very much to life and we both found the play incredibly moving... We wish you continued success with this play and future productions... With very best wishes to you both."
~Ian Hassell and Les Creswell
"Just wanted to say how wonderful and thought provoking your performance was last night. I'm not sure if it is correct to say that we 'enjoyed' it but it was powerful, well written and brilliantly acted by both of you. Thank you so much for the time you must have put into this project."
"Amazing... it was utterly amazing!... James and Michael, thank you so much! Took me a while to come down from that. A glass of red is helping... Stunning performance."
"What an amazing show. Very moving... Both actors were simply out of this world. Bravo to an excellent experience."
"Thank you for a very entertaining evening, mind provoking, and the twist in the tale at the end. We think you captured the hatred of the Nazi perfectly... and the guy who played the Jewish prisoner, how he stood still for all that time was quite incredible... I was talking to a lady, it was her first visit to one of your shows and thought also that it was opening her mind to the hatred you had captured of that time. She is a school teacher and said that, in her opinion, it would be good for students learning world history... It was very nice of you to invite us to meet you. Looking forward to the next show."
~Ian and Janet Underwood
"Very emotionally charged performance. Well done to the actors."
"highly relevant and terrifying production... This is a very important play, especially at this time."
"We saw your play on Saturday at Barton; it was a profound experience and a very difficult play to watch. We enjoyed the strength of both performers. The two characters portrayed were very convincing and we felt we caught a glimpse of what it was like to be in Hoess's world - absolutely terrifying. Your timing for the production is perfect, showing that a failure to adopt/accept immigrants or anyone different from oneself could be the first step towards a holocaust. Sadly many people do not seem to realise this connection. We hope more people take the opportunity to see this play. Once again, thank you and your team for bringing another marvellous world class performance to Barton."
~Jane Richardson and Tony Walton
"I wanted to thank you for a brilliant play and performance in your production last Saturday! I am a student of the holocaust on an MA course and it seems to me that your play is quite a unique genre in representing the horror! There is a plethora of books, documentaries and seminal films such as Schindler's List and The Pianist but very little where the audience can be engaged "face to face" with the banality of evil! You truly represented an elemental aspect of individual fear in which the audience could empathise with anyone in the position of your prisoner!... As Goering said in 1941, "I wouldn’t like to be a Jew in Germany" and your character and performance really depicted the sheer horror individual Jews must have felt when confronted by a Nazi in the mould you acted."
"A thought provoking gritty portrayal of this horrific period in time. Excellently delivered... Just wanted to say well done James and Michael on a superb performance, 'A Lesson from Auschwitz'. Poignantly portrayed and fully immersive, allowing the audience to become almost voyeuristic. It allowed your senses to be heightened with many emotions such as fear, anger and empathy. We came away feeling very humbled. The ending soundtrack was hauntingly beautiful and will stay with me for a very long time. Thank you for allowing us to become part of it...The drink afterwards was definitely needed!"
"I went to watch your play last night, 'A Lesson from Auschwitz'. I just wanted to send you an email saying it was fantastic."
"Saw your amazing play at Harrogate Theatre yesterday evening. I was very impressed and moved by the powerful performances by both yourself and Michael Shon. I thought the audience was left rather stunned by what they had just witnessed and the emotions that were brought to surface."
"Myself and my partner this evening were completely moved by your performance of 'A Lesson from Auschwitz'... the performance was so moving and so well done."
"Was very impressed and moved by the recent performance of 'A Lesson from Auschwitz' at Harrogate Theatre. Something which should be compulsory viewing for every young person in the country."
"Congratulations to yourself and Michael Shon on an inspiring performance of 'A Lesson from Auschwitz' at Bromley Churchill Theatre recently. I felt it was very moving and profound. Having been to the former camp at Auschwitz, it made your and Michael's performances seem that much more moving. I have seen all of your one man shows except 'The Accountment of Luke', and consider that 'A Lesson from Auschwitz' is the best out of all of them so far."
"A spellbinding and, at times, shocking performance from James Hyland, that draws the audience into the horrors that so many innocents were cruelly subjected to. A thought provoking account of some of the most inhumane behaviours of our time. Michael Shon's portrayal of the prisoner was both convincing and heart wrenching. A well thought out piece, brilliantly performed."
"I thought the show was brilliant, very harrowing and unnerving in places. Was so well done, I don't know how you remember all that dialogue and deliver it so well!"
"I have just returned from the Stafford Gatehouse performance of 'A Lesson from Auschwitz' and I have to write to you, although I don't quite know where or how to start. I am in my early 70s and know more than enough about WW2, the Nazis, the SS and the camps. I have visited Auschwitz. If I ever meet you for real I am afraid I will only see Rudolf Höss, not James Hyland. I didn't applaud at the end. I couldn't. What I had witnessed over the previous hour had been, for me, historical reality, not theatre. It was also more than enough to see you in that uniform, let alone your characterization. The precision, the twitches and grimaces, the psychopath, the spitting, strutting ranter, the utterly ardent Nazi Hitlerite, the sweating brutality. There was a cross section of folk in your audience and old f_ _ _ _ like me were not in a majority. I suppose that to some extent I knew what to expect. Those younger people in the audience would have very much profundity to take away with them. I am one of those who believe the Holocaust should be 'kept alive' as a 'Warning to Humanity' and your 'Play' and your involvement in it is a major element in ensuring that happens. It would be very easy to consider Michael Shon's (I wonder if he is Jewish?) role as incidental and supporting. On the contrary, his character had to be there because he was what it was all about. I couldn't take my eyes off his apprehensive loneliness as we, your staff (an uncomfortable association), assembled and awaited your arrival. To stand in that fashion as well as in a variety of other postures is no mean feat - as those who had to do at the time might testify. The manner in which he conveyed the damaged but unbroken human being was profoundly moving. By the end I was close to tearful anger. Thank you so much for something that was so very, very powerful. It will be some time before its strength wanes in me."
~Peter Jones (Reverend)
"I was fortunate enough to see you and Michael Shon perform 'A Lesson from Auschwitz' this evening at Stafford Gatehouse. I had to contact you to thank you for creating such an amazing production. I was gripped throughout and would welcome the opportunity to see the production again and introduce friends to it."
A Lesson from Auschwitz
Written, Produced and Directed by James Hyland
Performed by Michael Shon and James Hyland