Saturday, May 09, 2009

Way to Heaven


See enough Holocaust plays, and inevitably, one grows at least a little inured to the scenes of violence (sad as that may be). That's why Juan Mayorga's Way To Heaven makes for such an effective show: instead of showing the actual atrocities, it shows only the artificial atmosphere of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, at which Jews were forced to pretend that they had been happily resettled so that the Germans could quell the worldwide "rumors" of mass extermination. The audience, cast at the wide, parallel ends of the set--a narrow strip of dead leaves--sits on with the burden of hindsight, much like the Red Cross Representative (Shawn Parr), whose opening monologue establishes the tone of the show: "I needed one of them to give me a signal," he says. In other words, we watch Way to Heaven with the horror of knowledge, not the bliss of ignorance.

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