Arts & Leisure

THT to present virtual play about Nazi resistance

MIDDLEBURY — During turbulent times, it often takes great courage to speak out against injustice. German minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s heroic resistance to Adolph Hilter is the subject of a play by Town Hall Theater’s artistic director, Douglas Anderson, which will be presented online on Thursday, Oct. 22. 
“I wrote this play many years ago,” Anderson said, “and it was published after it won a national competition.  Since then it’s been produced all over the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The Dietrich Bonhoeffer story is incredibly powerful, and basically unknown in this country.”   
Bonhoeffer is a famous figure in Europe and is considered one of the heroes of World War II. He was disturbed by Hitler’s rise to power but was especially appalled by the fact that that the German church — his church — supported Hitler. “He spoke out against Hitler, when it took incredible courage to do so. And of course, that made him a marked man.” 
His resistance took an unlikely turn when Bonhoeffer, out of desperation, joined a small group that was plotting to kill Hitler — a plot that very nearly succeeded, and might have changed the course of history. 
The Town Hall Theater production will be presented online, streaming live on Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m.  
“The pandemic has closed the theater for the foreseeable future,” Anderson said, “but that doesn’t mean we should stop creating exciting and meaningful events for our audience.”   
Anderson has assembled what he calls an all-star cast for this production.  Mark Nash, Josh Collier, Lindsay Pontius, Ethan Bowen, Karen Lefkoe and Steve Small play major roles. Younger characters are played by Middlebury College students who’ve been in Anderson’s popular January term productions.   
The central role of Dietrich Bonhoeffer will be played by Los Angeles-based actor L. Stephen Phelan.  
“I discovered Stephen when a Chicago-based company did an online reading several weeks ago,” Anderson explained. “He was simply the best Bonhoeffer I’ve seen – and I’ve seen countless productions of this play. He really captures the humility and the strength of this exceptional man.”  
After watching the Chicago production, Anderson immediately contacted Phelan with an offer for him to repeat his performance for Town Hall Theater. 
THE BEAMS ARE CREAKING will be presented one time only, streaming live on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m., at bit.ly/THTBeams. The event is free, but donations via townhalltheater.org are appreciated. 

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