Hazel on Henri Szeps’s Play — “I Am Not A Dentist”

Henri gave me the original of this letter after Hazel’s funeral. Rob and Zoë finally saw I Am Not A Dentist when Rob, Josh, Zoë, and Pat saw it in December 1998.

(6 February 1997)
Dear Henri,

You were sensational, as always. For me, the evening was an unsettling mixture of the real and the stage. You are my neighbour and an actor. We talk across the fence in real life. You talk to me from the stage but on the stage you talk of your real life. You say to me that I, your neighbour, am a reference in your real life portrayal on the stage (in the book?). Joshua asks why the boy in real life portrayed on the stage still waited at the gate. Again the barrier between the stage and his life and my life dissolves. So instead of congratulating you mightily last night, as you observed, I was rather lost in the emotion of it all. An unaccustomed Cointreau downed too lustily might not have helped. I was “tired and emotional.”

I’m so glad I took Joshua. What a wonderful event in his young life.

Rob phoned last night and was sorry to have missed the performance. He wishes you well for the next two weeks. The audience loves you. The mobile phone and the lady who unthinkingly answered your rhetorical questions loudly from the back row added to the real life/stage mixture and your responses were nicely handled.

You should sell the video to the ABC/SBS or use it to sell the idea of a short documentary on your life — visits to Switzerland, Paris, is the orphanage still there?, interspersed with your stage performance perhaps. Maybe an Australia Day special — multiculturalism in action — a Lutheran Jew of Poland/Switzerland/France/Australia.

We had a terrific night. Thank you.

Hazel & Joshua

Last Updated 4 June 2000