Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Theresia Walser's A Little Calm Before the Storm

(Part of a series in which I make up for not updating my blog recently.)

In December, I attended German Stage's presentation of a staged reading of Theresia Walser's A Little Calm Before the Storm featuring Johnny Lee Davenport, Jeremiah Kissel, and Ted Hewlett, playing three actors waiting to be ushered before the camera of a television talk show.

As I wrote in The Arts Fuse:

In Theresia Walser’s A Little Calm Before the Storm, three actors sit in the green room waiting to be part of a televised discussion on the challenges of playing Hitler. The 2006 play has been both popular in Germany (reportedly a five-year run) and controversial. Consul General Rolf Schütte, who was in attendance at the staged reading, said that he could not imagine such play being produced in Germany 15 years prior.

[...]On one level, A Little Calm Before the Storm is only a prelude to a discussion about how evil can be portrayed in art. During the one-act play Prächtel, Söst, and Lerch talk about this difficult topic and then dance away from it. Walser provides plenty of comic distraction: Prächtel becomes exasperated that he cannot get a glass of tap water in the television studio; Söst attempts to coach Lerch on how to pull off irrelevant talk show banter. Waiting for the television host who never comes, the impatient actors begin to taunt each other, appraising each other’s performances, questioning if the other actor can do justice to such a hated historical figure as Hitler.

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