Don’t Miss Judgment at Nuremberg at Springfield Community TheatreBy Laura & Mike Clark • Sep 29th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Springfield Community Theatre’s production of Judgment at Nuremberg [MP3 4:56 1.4MB].
Mike: Judgment at Nuremberg is a fictionalized account of the post World War II Nuremberg trials, written by Abby Mann. It focuses on certain judges who executed Nazi law before and during World War II. The play examines tthe questions of individual complicity in crimes committed by the state.
Laura: I enjoyed the performance very much. There was a lot of good emotion throughout the show. I liked it because it got into the human side of it and didn’t focus on a lot of Law & Order lawyer talk.
Mike: This was a really good show. It really held your interest. When we told people what we were going to go see, the reaction was pretty much always, “Oh boy, that’s going to be a real fun show.” And while it wasn’t a fun show, it was a good show. It does make you think. Parallels again in theater paralleling real life of some of the things going on in the United States right now with torture decisions and legalizing torture and different things that the state is wanting to do. It’s just an interesting set of questions that have to be asked and answered.
Laura: Colonel Tad Parker, head of the prosecution was played by Herb Tax. He gave a really strong performance. He had a lot of emotion. A lot of anger in that defending what was going on at the trial was wrong and needed to be brought to light and these men needed to be brought to justice. So I really liked his performance very much.
Mike: Did he come across do you think, as kind of a zealot for justice against the German people? Do you think that was more revenge driven or justice driven?
Laura: I would say it’s more justice driven. He knew that what the Nazi’s did was wrong and was going to bring them to justice.
Mike: There was a scene in the show when the defense attorney, Oscar Rolfe, was expounding and giving his defense. And Colonel Parker, played by Herb Tax, just glared at him and gave these expressions of just hatred. It kind of made me feel like it was a little bit more revenge driven.
Laura: It could be that.
Mike: Something to watch when you go see the show.
Mike: Oscar Rolfe, the defense attorney was played by Michael Fisher. He was quite effective. At the beginning of the play he really wasn’t quite sure how he was going to do his defense. He was also a little upset by some of the things that his clients did. That’s just the way lawyers are and he did that really well.
Laura: The set was a simple set. It was basically the courtroom. So you had the desk where the judges sat. One side was where the defense and prosecution sat and the other side was where the gentlemen who were on trial for the war crimes.
Mike: One thing I really liked about this show was the pacing. Zina Bleck was the director. She really kept the show moving along. For instance, it would have been very easy for every witness that came up to testify to actually swear them in. They only did that for the first witness. After that point it was kind of understood they’d been sworn in. That probably saved five or ten minutes total from, “Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth.” That was good. They also, for a lot of scenes in the show, instead of having everybody leave the stage and then move things around for the set, they just moved to a different section of the set to do the next scene. Like the judges or the prisoners, instead of leaving the stage, they stayed where they were and just bent their heads down. That was very effective and it was not distracting at all. It kept the show moving a long nicely.
Laura: We saw this show Sunday evening and that day we spent at my parent’s house.They had a guest visiting from Germany. Her name is Birgit. We asked her how Nazi Germany was presented.
Mike: So Birgit told us that they do teach about Nazi Germany. The history of the country as it is a part of their history. In school there are field trips to concentration camps to see what that was like. They also had Holocaust survivors come to the school and give talks about their experiences.
Laura: Judgment at Nuremberg is playing through October the 7th at the Immanuel United Methodist Church in Annandale, Virginia.
Mike: This is an important show to watch. You need to go see it and then think about the questions that it raises. One of the points they make at the end of the show is they tell what happened in the real world and some of the guesses that Oscar Rolfe makes do come true. And it’s just kind of sobering to think about the legal system and how it can be perverted through legal means.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.