Opened 27 May 2009
Written: by Ronald Harwood
Directed: Philip Franks
Cast: Michael Pennington & David Horovitch
TAKING SIDES: Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, prized by Hitler as the cultural jewel in the crown of the Third Reich, became the perfect post-war target for interrogation as a Nazi sympathiser. Major Steve Arnold, who has witnessed the horrors of Belsen, is about to cross-examine him.
COLLABORATION: The play opens in 1931 in a spirit of optimism as composer Richard Strauss and writer Stephan Zweig embark on an invigorating artistic partnership. But Zweig is a Jew and the Nazis are on the march. Is it possible to keep artistic aspiration and political action separate? How fine is the line between collaboration and betrayal?
What the popular press had to say....
FIONA MONTFORD for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "The two plays, seen together like this in elegant productions from Philip Franks, gain strength and depth from each other." DOMINIC MAXWELL for THE TIMES says, "Franks’s productions, which are complementary but otherwise unconnected, so can be seen separately, are kept compulsive by superb performances from Pennington and David Horovitch...see either of these fine plays and you’ll get a gripping reminder of just how fragile our freedom, artistic or otherwise, can be." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Both pieces offer a serious, penetrating and moving debate about music, politics and the responsibility of the individual, but if that sounds dull and worthy, be reassured – they also prove gripping, highly entertaining theatre. "