A Bright Room Called Day
written by Tony Kushner
Directed by Lindsay Teter
March 29 – April 14, 2019
“This age wanted heroes. It got us instead…”
In the face of an erupting volcano, do we struggle? Do we acquiesce? Do we hold fast to our community or let it slip away? Our human spirit can force us to greatness or it can lead us to darkness where we question our basic humanity.
A Bright Room Called Day, by Tony Kushner, epitomizes the struggle against inaction, apathy, and fragmentation. Weimar Germany was a slow explosion. No one could have fathomed that a democracy founded on the hope of German unity would end in totalitarian despotism, and few could have predicted the slaughter that would follow. In this dangerous world we all have a choice. We all have a voice. Kushner’s characters, bohemian artists and dreamers, fight for their better world and see it slip away. They encourage us to ask ourselves how we confront insidious hate, glut for power, and how we can weather the changes in the political climate with hope, solidarity and community.
A Bright Room Called Day is a chilling dramatization of fragmentation, a slow explosion. Set in a democracy facing fatal peril, the stories of our characters ask what happens to hope, solidarity and community in the wake of an overwhelming and evil political tide. Of the democracies that met their fractious end in the 20th century, the death of the Weimar Republic is debatably the most infamous, preluding a second world war that would take as many as 85 million human lives. This nascent democracy, beleaguered by economic instability, internal factionalism, and an inherently flawed constitution, began with the hope of German unity and dissolved beneath autocracy and despotism.
Before the Great Depression of 1929, Weimar Germany enjoyed a period of relative social stability, cultural burgeoning, and economic growth from 1923-1929, known as the “Goldene Zwanziger” or “Golden Twenties.” This Golden Era, marked by notable advancements in labor rights, low unemployment, and cultural advancement (including one of the earliest attempts to legalize homosexuality), welcomed Americanization through jazz, fashion, and film, and saw a stabilization of the hyperinflation that had plagued the Nation. Unfortunately, there were strong countercultures that challenged the democratic order and soon came a conflagration that would stymie many of these efforts for the next 40 years. Post war Germany’s link to American finance through the “Dawes Plan”, an attempt to finance reparations from WWI, had sewn the German economy to the health of the New York Stock Exchange, and when the banks melted in the crash of ‘29, Germany was one of the worst victims.
Unemployment and economic volatility rose sharply, raising the tide of Nationalism with it. Fanning the tumult, conditions in The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to recognize sole responsibility for WWI. Popularly seen as overbearingly punitive, this “War Guilt Clause,” exacerbated a growing sense among conservative German’s and radical leftists alike, that they had been betrayed by their leadership in this acquiescence to the Allies, encouraging distrust of government. As some longed for a savior or patriarch, others cried for a people’s Revolution and Solidarity. Ultimately, political parties on the Left, including the Communist “KPD” and the majority Social Democratic Party of Germany, or the “SPD,” failed in the ensuing instability to unite against a popular conservative movement that would later destroy any semblance of the Republic. The Nazi’s, by pouncing on the Left’s disorganization, extorting their leader’s conservative hubris, and exacerbating the swelling tide of German Nationalism with racism and fear, deftly assumed the mantle of power and quickly exsanguinated any ideologies that threatened their dominance. Following Hitler’s chancellorship, his government asphyxiated any resistance with the patriarchal arm of its paramilitary S. A. police, alluding to the slaughter that was to come in the holocaust. Democracy is messy; factions are frustrating and slow. Perhaps we don’t realize the freedoms we risk to lose when we court the Devil, until his hand has left our pocket. The hour is late. Welcome to Germany.
April 27, 2019
24-hour Playwrighting, Rehearsing and Performance. One Day Only!
Show times are 7:30 Friday and Saturday, 2:00 Sunday.
Online ticket sales close two hours before show time.
Sorry, late arrivals cannot be seated.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF PERFORMANCE
Stage Left presents live theater that makes you think. Our productions touch on Social, Historical, Political, Ethical or Religious topics. We want you, the audience, not only to enjoy great theater that you wouldn’t see somewhere else, but to experience the show as either a mirror or a window. Maybe you’ll see yourself in one of the characters and have a mirror to your own life, or maybe you will see the experiences of someone you know and peek through their window. No matter what, our hope is that you come away with insight to a different perspective and create some conversation!