by Paula Citron
If you can buy, beg or borrow a ticket, you must get yourself to the Tarragon Extra Space to see Hannah Moscovitch’s East of Berlin, perhaps the most powerful and harrowing play this year.
Her subject matter is not for the faint of heart. A young German growing up in Paraguay finds out his father was an experimental doctor in the death camps. Running away to Berlin, he meets a Jewish American girl, and his life further unravels. At times Moscovitch becomes a bit too polemical, but nothing can really diminish this compelling script.
Director Alisa Palmer is blessed with a top notch cast and she keeps the tension relentless. Brendan Gall as the hapless Rudi has just the right touch of self-deprecating irony. Paul Dunn as his wise and duplicitous friend Hermann is perfect in his restraint, while Dianna Donnelly as Sarah shows passion without melodrama.
East of Berlin continues at the Tarragon Extra Space until Nov. 25.
I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for The New CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.