Bess Walder and Beth Cummings are two of 90 children being taken from Britain to Canada when a U-boat torpedo attacks their ship, the SS City of Benares, in September 1940.
Mara Dale, an Oak Park and River Forest High School 2008 alumna and former River Forest resident, plays Beth in Nicola McCartney's 2002 play "Lifeboat"—a story about friendship, war and survival told from the perspective of two teenage girls fascinated with "The Wizard of Oz," Judy Garland and becoming famous performers themselves.
Bess, a Londoner with status, and Beth, from a working class home in Liverpool, are just two of 13 survivors clinging to life in the cold of the North Atlantic.
Kerry Reid of the Chicago Tribune writes that both Molly Bunder, who plays Bess, and Dale, "deliver surefooted performances that shine a warm light on this nearly forgotten historic footnote."
"Lifeboat" is at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue., through June 8. Tickets are $20. Call 773-270-1660 or visit filamenttheatre.org for more in formation.