PHOTO COURTESY ACACIA THEATRE – PHOTOGRAPHER: Melinda Rhodebeck
Giovanna Greco and Jason Will in Acacia Theatre’s ‘We Will Not Be Silent’
In David Meyers’ thought-provoking psychological drama, We Will Not Be Silent, a young college student turned political activist is arrested at her university for distributing flyers critical of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Her interrogator is determined to learn more about the White Rose, a non-violent resistance organization dedicated to stopping the war and the ongoing destruction of their native Germany circa 1943, two years before the end of World War II.
Based on the true story of the anti-Nazi fighter Sophie Scholl, Acacia Theatre Company has staged this tension-filled 80-minute drama (no intermission) with a simple set—an interrogation room— and three actors. But, under the solid direction of Janet Bouman Peterson, Silent achieves maximum impact for those watching the life or death, back and forth battle between the hunter and the hunted. Sophie (Giovanna Greco) is determined to remain silent and not betray her family and colleagues. Her interrogator, Kurt Grunwald (Jason Will) is determined to break her passionate spirit and get her to “confess.” In a nearby cell is Sophie’s brother, Hans (A.J. Magoon) who’s already been arrested.
Silent is a perversely fascinating mind game of cat and mouse between these two. At times, Sophie is in command as the Nazi detective submits to her line of questioning. Playwright Meyers keeps us guessing as to who—and what—is telling the truth?
Like the flower the white rose itself, Silent slowly picks away at the petals surrounding the core truths of the storyline. We learn more about Sophie and Grunwald’s personal lives. Both have suffered losses at the hands of the Nazis. But for Grunwald, it’s still a job. For Sophie, it’s her entire identity and belief system.
The three actors do a fine job as the tension builds. Giovanna Greco gives Sophie a cool, restrained edge while Grunwald tries to wear her down. Jason Will makes Grunwald more than just a bad guy caricature; it’s a study in the push and pull of the art of persuasion. And as Sophie’s brother, Hans, A.J. Magoon deftly depicts how youthful idealism quickly turns into deadly consequences.
“Just because you repeat a lie doesn’t mean it’s true,” affirms the courageous Sophie to her interrogator early on in Silent. And for telling the truth—and refusing to do otherwise—Sophie and millions like her are still heard today in memory and in history as witnessed in We Will Not Be Silent.
We Will Not Be Silent runs through March 26 in Norvell Commons at St. Christopher’s Church, 7845 N. River Road, River Hills. For more information, call: 414-744-5995, or visit: acaciatheatre.com.