Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
Martin Sherman's horrific drama (1979) is actually a love story as doomed as Romeo and Juliet. In 1934, after the "Night of the Long Knives" - in which Ernst Rohm, an openly gay male, was murdered - Nazi Germany began a persecution of homosexuals as well as Jews. Given his knack for negotiating, young Max might be the one person to survive even a hellhole like Dachau. He cares nothing about friends or dignity and will make unthinkable deals to keep alive. At the concentration camp where, like Sisyphus, they haul stones back and forth, Max meets young Horst. Their mutual attraction becomes fatal and, in a deeper sense, transcending. Opening night of Diversionary and Ion Theatre's co-production could have used more polish. The pacing was on the slow side, and the leads, though capably done by Charlie Reuter (Horst) and Michael Zlotnik (Max) weren't fully realized (versatile Chris Buess, as flamboyant dancer Rudy, and Walter Ritter as closet gay Uncle Freddie, were in top form, however). But the harrowing drama, which I don't think San Diego has seen in decades, still has deep dramatic bite.
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, November 22, 2009
- Sundays, 2pm & 7pm
- Thursdays, 7:30pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm