The bitter and heartbreaking aftermath of World War II’s atrocities is brought to life in Abby Mann’s ‘Judgment at Nuremberg.’ Justice is the key word here, as this radio show-style drama stimulates the logic of the mind and the compassion of the heart through its portrayal of an American-directed prosecution of several Nazi judges, just one of the many famed Nuremberg war trials. Produced as a 1961 screenplay, “Judgment at Nuremberg” will cause you to contemplate the desecrated humanity and stolen dignity of Nazi Germany’s victims and will urge you never to forget.
‘Judgment at Nuremberg’ challenges us in our present-day socio-political stirrings, to question, examine, and perhaps reconsider our own preconceived notions of justice.
How can a radio show convince an audience poised to see a stage play? Director Brian Kite makes it possible, successfully crafting a post-war nostalgia that truly makes you feel transported to 1945. Staged sound effects add a surprisingly unique visual effect, as the artists move with precision to create sounds of typewriters, phones, and other devices from an era gone by.
The actors in their delivery are what truly grounded the show. Josh Clark’s fiery, all-American Colonel Parker, takes charge of prosecuting the silently defiant Nazi Judge Janning (Ron Bottitta) with the gusto of a crusader and with no pause for mercy. Jeff Gardner’s moving portrayal of Rudolph Peterson put me emotionally in his shoes, as he testifies of being inhumanely forced into acts beyond his will.
While the set and stage business were minimal, the gripping undertones of social injustice made a lasting impact. With the observances of the 75th Anniversary of WWII and Holocaust Remembrance Day, this show’s overall success lies in how it connects us emotionally to a people gone, but not forgotten. Even more so, “Judgment at Nuremberg” challenges us in our present-day socio-political stirrings, to question, examine, and perhaps reconsider our own preconceived notions of justice.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission.
Advisory: Video display of Holocaust images.
“Judgement at Nuremberg” is touring nationally with L.A. Theatre Works until April 25, 201, in Lexington, VA. For more information, visit online.