Love and death in Hitler's Germany
This moving play chronicles the passionate love story and the desperate dilemma of two gifted young people, who just happen to be Jews, as well as the extraordinary contrast between the reactions of their families to this predicament in the terrifying world of Nazi Germany.
Hanna and Philipp, two lawyers in their thirties, are in love. The problem is that they are Jewish lawyers in the Berlin of 1938. Hitler has prohibited all Jewish lawyers except World War 1 veterans from practising.Philipp was in the trenches as a teenager so he thinks he is all right, but he is terrified for the safety of the brilliant and impulsive Hanna who refuses to be prudently inconspicuous. He tries to persuade her to flee to safety. He promises that he can get her a visa to Cuba. She, however, refuses to leave without her manipulative mother Elisabeth and her feckless sister Anita. One night, in November 1938, Philipp receives a mysterious telephone call from a total stranger. It is obviously a coded warning. Philipp’s dying father and altruistic sister urge him to leave that night. It is a call which will change all their lives.
Philipp does flee, albeit unwillingly. Hanna, forced to stay on, witnesses the terror of Kristallnacht. Her quality of life deteriorates as she has to take on menial jobs to support Elisabeth and Anita. In November 1941 she receives what she has been waiting for - three visas for Cuba. But it is too late: the order has already come for her and her family to be deported from Berlin. In the final scene, Philipp, safe in New York, grieves for Hanna and for his family. He grieves for the fact that he was not there to say Kaddish for them and he resolves to survive and to return to Germany for their sake.
(pictures are from the 2010 run)