Presented by Praxis Stage
An Anti-Inaugural Event
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Hatem Adell and Daniel Boudreau
Fight choreography by Nathan Johnson
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston, MA) Praxis Stage perfectly sums up what it is we liberals are so damned scared of in Incident at Vichy. This incredibly quotable, direly prescient play by Arthur Miller engages intelligent, easily transferable dialogue to summarize the Holocaust. Adell and Boudreau’s production make the events of Incident at Vichy alarmingly apparent that Trump’s American is bound to repeat history’s atrocities.
This is a story of resistance when all odds are against you. Vichy takes place in Vichy, France, 1942. France is occupied by Nazi Germany. Nine Jewish males have been rounded up like cattle without explanation, and placed in a detention building. They are trapped. One by one they are interviewed by Nazi officers in an adjacent room. They leave and do not come back. The fear is almost as palpable as the denial.
The space used in Inner Sanctum is a found, ¾ stage adapted to accommodate a flat seating area for the audience. It’s an intimate venue that evokes the Beat Generation with its ramshackle design, and darkened corridors. Seating varies from comfortable couches to desk chairs that time forgot. It’s perfect for Incident at Vichy, a play that demands audiences use what they have in the fight against segregation for slaughter. All it needs is a jug of Carlo Rossi red to complete the ambiance.
Adell and Boudreau utilize their performance space creatively. Front row seats bring the audience close enough to the actors to share air. Knowing that the cast is in another world isn’t enough to distance one from their passionate discourse. The fight choreography is well-practiced, and safe. We can appreciate the violence as artistic expression without worrying for the actors. Being so close to them brings home the notion that the Nazis (and all people who behave like them) are willing to bend the law for undeserved retribution.
The cast is excellent. They make strong character choices that deliver a great performances. The actors playing the Germans are despicable. Their conviction to their cause is atrocious. In particular, Jake Athyal as Leduc is sensitive yet strong. His calm is unnerving. He’s a voice of reason in an unruly place of discord. Similarly, Steve Auger as Von Berg wears passive, respectful patience well. Danny Mourino and Alexander Castillo-Nuñez are not messing around. Get out of their way or get trampled.
To be picky, the delivery of dialogue could use some work. We could hear the actors but we couldn’t always understand them. Enunciation and diction in such a space is crucial.
Miller’s writing with Adell and Boudreau’s staging make Incident at Vichy at timely, deeply disturbing piece. Humans will attack the “other” without due cause because someone somewhere told them it was “right.” The Holocaust is one notable case. America has McCarthyism, Japanese internment camps, the AIDS epidemic, and now, the potential Muslim registry. If Vichy teaches us anything, it’s to resist in all of the ways available to us. Personal acts of dissent bring us all closer to freedom.
we elected an pointless piece of orange orangutan dookie, a thin skinned bigot to the office of the President. His plan to slash the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities is HERE. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is worse. Fight him. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you.
#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #brownlivesmatter #yellowlivesmatter #lgbtqialivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #muslimlivesmatter #disabledlivesmatter #theatreartsmatter #NODAPL