Written by Gloria Mwaniga Minage Odari
On a chilly Friday evening November the 24th, I dragged my feet to Goethe Instutut on Monrovia street for a show I had seen being advertised, having had a very long week at work but overpowered by my love for art, I decided to sneak in for a while and see if the show was captivating enough for me to watch.
Surprisingly, the auditorium was almost full when I walked in at five minutes to seven and my ears were serenaded with good soft music as I settled down in anticipation.
Stephan Bruckmeier walked onto the stage, gave a slight bow and got into his role as a powerful war soundtrack filled the room and the lights dimmed In that instant, we were momentarily transported into the German of the 1920’s, where we glimpsed Fritz Lang’s thoughts as he deliberated with his conscience as whether to make a decision against his principles and save a career he cherished or stick to his principles and see his dreams crumble before him.
The one man monologue was enhanced by good soundtracks and lighting, voice projection and video images which struck a certain intimacy chord with the audience as they felt a part of the actors’ dilemma. Set in the late 1920’s to early 1930’s, the plot revolved around Fritz Lang, playwright who lived during the dictator Adolf Hitler’s time .Having just produced his best ever play, Lang’s career was at a rapid takeoff stage when he was summoned by the minister of propaganda in Hitler’s government and asked to write scripts that would be used to brainwash the citizens and promote the governments agenda.
The conspiratory nature of those in power is fully shown when he, in his quest to get away, confesses that he is actually Jewish, to which the minister simply, smiles and answers that ‘the government’ is the ones who decide who is and isn’t Jewish.
Like in all good scripts, good finally wins when he says no to the lucrative position of influence and power and picked a road less travelled .This leads to his plays being banned from the theatre ,his life’s work crushed with a single blow and he finds himself a refugee, fleeing a country he desperately loved.
The carefully selected white suite and shoes perfectly blended with Stephan Bruckmeier’s light skin make a very good costume as they worked to accentuate the dark events that surrounded Lang’s otherwise bright future. Also, the sharp contrast with the dimly lit room and the changing lights kept the audience’s glued as one couldn’t afford to miss a single scene or word.
Directed and acted by Stephan Bruckmeier, an internationally recognized director, actor, author and stage designer, this is a wonderfully scripted and rehearsed play and to think that it was the first time he performed it in English puts it in a class of its own. The one hour monologue is a beautifully woven, well rehearsed and nicely performed historic piece, and the different accents employed by the actor give it a most hilarious twist.
The play is based on a novel by Agnès Michaux.