East of Berlin by Hannah Moscovitch

The strongest moment in East of Berlin, the career-making play of Canadian scribe Hannah Moscovitch currently having its first Irish run at the Project Theatre, occurs at the dinner table. Rudi (played with considerable charm by Colin Campbell) is a young lad living with his parents in a German expat community. In the fifties. In Paraguay. Where they throw a party every 20th April.
You can probably guess where this is going.
A casual remark by a schoolfriend (Liam Heslin) reveals an unspeakable truth to Rudi about his father and what he did during the war. This leads to that confrontation at the dinner table between father and son where Rudi asks him how he could have done such awful things and receives answers that, while obviously self-serving, nonetheless have a terrifying plausibility.
How could you have selected people to go to the camps?
If I hadn’t, they just would have sent everybody.
How could you infect people with typhus?
I thought about how many lives I would save if I discovered a cure.
Why didn’t you leave?
I had a wife. They would have come after her.
In this exchange Moscovitch gives us a glimpse into a world where all choices lead to atrocity. Fleeing his family in disgust, Rudi arrives in Germany and falls in love with a Nice Jewish Girl named Sarah (an excellent turn by Erin Flanigan, by turns brassy and vulnerable) whose mother survived the camps. They discover to their wonderment (in one of the most touching scenes in the play) that a mere generation after the Shoah a German and a Jew can fall in love. “It feels right.” Sarah says in amazement “It feels…normal.” But of course, the Dark Dramatic Secrets in Rudi’s past rise up to threaten their happiness as Dark Dramatic Secrets are wont to do and Rudi most decide just how far he will go to exorcise the demons of the past.
Despite the heavy subject matter, Moscovitch has a deft hand with dialogue and characterisation and it remains throughout a play about people rather than themes aided by briskly fluid direction and strong performances from all three actors.
East of Berlin by Hanna Moscovitch runs in the Project Theatre.
Dates: 8 – 16 Jan €16/€14
Matinee: 16 Jan 2.30pm €14/€12

7 comments

  1. This reminds me of a report our teacher gave us in college based on the movie The Hours. Fell asleep like 30 minutes into it, then woke up like 30 minutes before it ended, and since I know I snore, the whole class had to know I fell asleep. Still got an A on that report.

    I guess the main problem is that since we haven’t seen the play, and no media or other visuals to show, it’s kind of hard to get into this type of review. Looking forward to the Gargoyles review, You should try something in the first season, but for the love of Disney don’t take something from the third when it was Goliath Chronicles. Those should be offered to the God of Forgetfullness as a ritual sacrifice.

  2. Hey Mouse, do you remember how if Snow White had been released today it would have gotten sequels and a show called Dwarves? Well, now there is one. It’s called the 7D. Yep. Just gonna let that sink in there.

      1. Oh, actually I was wrong. It’s been on since 2014. It just got a second season. Think about it. One year more and it’ll have more seasons than Gravity Falls. 7D. A show about dwarves.

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