Friday, May 2, 2014

harrowing, gut wrenching theater

so last night we went to see the Remy Bumppo Theater production of "Our Class" - and were blown away by the emotional impact good theater can have on the audience...  before I elaborate I want to give some of the background-

the full timeline - which I will break into smaller parts for easier reading-

I knew going in that it would be a tough evening - the topic of the mass murders of Jews in Poland is one we have known of for quite some time and of course came up against in situ when we were in Poland and Western Ukraine looking for Phil's family's roots.  This play was a horrifying exploration of those acts of genocide against the Jews.  The context of the exploration is a single "grade" class from school from before the world lost its moral compass.  In the opening scenes - some tensions are apparent but with each successive lesson the true character of each "student" is revealed and the classmates turn against each other to varying degrees depending upon each one's internal moral compass or lack thereof...

this was not a black and white - good guy Jews versus bad guy Poles- approach.  the whole story had nuances and subtleties that made each of the classmates more or less humane.  Each of the performances was first rate although some roles were more extensive than others.  The most evil of all of the characters made your blood run cold as he manipulated his classmates and pushed them into acts so horrific that no justice could ever truly be accomplished. Other characters had varying degrees of complicity with the actions of murder, rape, torture and mass extermination of the entire population of the village where they had all begun their lives. And in the aftermath, the acts of each of those who survived the atrocities also covered the full spectrum from revenge to forgiveness - or if not forgiveness at least the willingness to put the past behind.
an excellent evening of thought provoking theater.

tonight we have a play at Steppenwolf called Russian Transport.  but more on that in a later post....

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