A quick detour away from film this week, as I reviewed a play for the Washington City Paper:
There’s no shortage of questions when the lights come up at the end of Theater J’s production of Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s Our Class. How could these people, friends since childhood, be so cruel to one another? How could we possibly retain the capacity to forgive despite that cruelty? Where did I put my tissues, and when did it get so blurry in here?
Once you’ve dried your eyes and wandered out into the autumn air, another question arises: How on earth did they pull that off? Our Class is a three-hour epic that spans 80 years in the lives of 10 individuals from the Polish town of Jedwabne—five Jewish, five Catholic—and the horrific events during World War II that both bind their fates and tear them apart.
There is no aging makeup, nor any costume changes, and the set—stark and minimal with black brick, a schoolroom chalkboard, and a couple of patches of cobblestone amid the floorboards—is unchanging. The play flagrantly breaks a standard dramatic rule, both showing and telling, often via direct address. None of this should work.
Continue reading the rest of my review over at WCP
Tags | theater | theatre | Theater J | WWII | World War II | Poland | Jewish persecution | historical fiction