Image Credit: Francesca Tortora
(Accessed from http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk)
Hannah Moscovitch's East of Berlin is currently having its European Premiere at Southwark Playhouse. Robyn Keynes and Theatre In Heights productions is directed by Blythe Stewart. The play is about Rudi (played by Jordan McCurrah) who didn't know that his father was a Nazi SS Doctor at Auchwitz during the second World War. He seemed to be oblivious about it until Hermann (played by Tom Lincoln) disclosed his father's past. The disclosure raised a wide range of mixed emotions from denial to betrayal for Rudi. He was determined to put behind his father's past - so he fled from Paraguay to start a new life in Berlin and only to have met Sarah (played by Jo Herbert), a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and be reminded yet again of his father's past and possible consequences. A further mixture of emotions and crisis of conscience coerced Rudi to confront his father's involvement in the Nazi party. As much as wanted to forgive and seek redemption, the world will ensure their atrocities will never be forgotten.
This is sure a very powerful, explosive and mind blowing play with a complex range of emotions excellently portrayed by the cast specially when Rudi and Sarah learnt from one another about the truth of what really happened with their families. The story touch every part of your emotions and their many types! You felt for both characters whose circumstances weren't of their choosing and their innocence being shattered. Rudi, in particular, dealing with his father's and his escape to South America, just like many of the former SS Officers did to at the end of the second World War. The excellent acting by Jordan McCurrah and Jo Herbert portrayed the troubled characters embarking on their life journeys in forgetting and remembering the past respectiviely - only to have ignited devastating consequences which they wished not have envisaged.
Simple but effective stage setting, courtesy of Holly Piggott, Seth Rook Williams, Jasmine Robinson and Keri Danielle Chesser, enabled the story to be told how Moscovitch wanted it to be. I'm so glad to have seen the award nominated play. All is to be said is that one and all of us are victims of past events by whom we know and where it happened, whether good or bad, and that you had nothing to do with it. The play certainly highlights the impact of past events which had an adverse effect on Rudi and to an extent Sarah. East of Berlin is highly recommended and is on until 12th July 2014 at the Southwark Playhouse.
Sources: Southwark Playhouse