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Wiesenthal the Nazi Hunter

WIESENTHAL

By Y Wolf

One might think that a one-man play about the life of Simon Wiesenthal—legendary Holocaust survivor turned hunter of Nazi war criminals—might be a real serious affair.

However, according to Tom Dugan, writer of Wiesenthal, the show has many humorous moments mixed in with the serious ones.

“Wiesenthal had a great sense of humor,” said Dugan. “In fact, before the war, he was an amateur stand-up comedian. He was not a dour man, despite the serious nature of his work. Wiesenthal’s sense of humor allowed me to write the play in a way that leaves audiences with an uplifting message.”

Part memoir and part spy thriller, Dugan’s play introduces us to Wiesenthal on the day before his retirement as he welcomes his final group of Americans to his office in The Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna.

“My wife is waiting at our front door for me to finally come home from the war,” says Simon Wiesenthal as he leaves his office for the last time in Tom Dugan’s beautifully written one-man bioplay Wiesenthal, now at the Shelter Theater in San Miguel de Allende.

Simon Wiesenthal officially retired in 2003 from a lifetime of Nazi hunting, having tracked down and brought to justice more than 1,000 war criminals after World War II. He died two years later at 96.

Heroic stories representing order in a chaotic world are deeply soothing to the human soul. In real life, Wiesenthal had and still has his detractors: some say he was egotistical and took credit for others’ work.

But onstage here, puttering around his office at the Vienna Jewish Documentation Center, he conveys an inspiring mixture of human frailty and tireless, superhuman dedication to justice.

After barely surviving World War II, transferred from camp to camp, Wiesenthal spent the rest of his life chasing tenuous wisps of clues in a chillingly discouraging atmosphere, running down former Nazis of every rank, from Adolf Eichmann to Franz Stangl, the lowly policeman who arrested Anne Frank.

With Wiesenthal on the case, we could go to sleep, certain that all the bad guys would be rounded up, that the victims of the Holocaust would be remembered, and that “the human savage…behind the wafer-thin layer of civilization” would be—if not stamped out—at least contained.

But there’s the rub, and the tension in this play. Wiesenthal can’t keep it up forever. Who will carry out his mission when he is gone?

“With all that is going on in the world today,” says director Alan Jordan, “Wiesenthal is ever so relevant for all.”

Wiesenthal is the latest production from Caja Negra. Previous productions include; House, I Am My Own Wife, By The Waters Of Babylon, Building The Wall, The Tricky Part, An Act Of God, and Kiss Of The Spider Woman.

 

Theater

Wiesenthal

Shelter Theater

Vicente Guerrero 4

Thu–Sat, Sep 13–15, 7pm

Sun, Sep 16, 3pm

Tickets:

250 pesos and 300 pesos

Online Only:

Sheltervg4.com

Information:

Sheltervg4@gmail.com

 

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