Mother Night Reviewed by Brenda Repland
Kurt Vonnegut wrote of the “crime of our times.”
The play opens in 1961 with Howard W. Campbell (Gabriel Grilli) an American-born Nazi propagandist in jail in Jerusalem.
Then, through flashbacks, we learn the real backstory of this apparent traitor. It turns out that Campbell was a double agent for the Allies, passing along coded messages in his anti-Semitic radio broadcasts, listened to diligently by the Third Reich.
Campbell is now and was then surrounded by the earnest, the fanatical, the bumbling white supremacists who served “evil too well and good too secretly.”
Among the nuttier types is Dr. Jones and his White Christian Minute Men whose motto is “Christ was not a Jew!” Jones advocates for “patriotic white men who are persecuted for their beliefs.” (Sound familiar?)
Many attitudes of war come forth in Campbell’s discussions with others. When he asks a guard how he could endure the horrors of war, the guard explains “I was like everyone else I the war. I felt nothing!”
Campbell encounters two opposing views of survival – Never forget! And Forget it all!
When asked about Eichmann, he counters that “Eichmann simply couldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong!”
In contemplating Fascism, Campbell reflects on those who long for war and long for anyone to tell them what to do. What were they seeking in a leader?
This is an excellent cast in a play with frighteningly relevant aspects for today. Gabriel Grilli and Andrea Gallo deserve particular praise for their very realistic portrayals.