One protagonist, Richard Wagner, is obviously received and revered but for some in the audience, the other name, Adolf Hitler, is part of living memory. My mum remembers the chaos and the Movietone newsreels of the time and several people of my acquaintance have family who were caught up in the holocaust of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. So, a play that puts this odium on stage in front of you … a gay heart, a Jewish soul, a gypsy heritage might quake to see. However, DRESDEN, playing at the Kings Cross Theatre, is not to be feared.
Playwright Justin Fleming has created a warm text that for most of its 80 minutes floats with a balance of emotion and intellect before delivering the challenge of a hard landing question to take away with you. Here there is density without heaviness and entertainment without escapism allied with a rigorous interrogation of the profundity and complexities of power in great art. And love, or the lack thereof. Continue reading DRESDEN AT KXT: NOT WHAT ONE MIGHT EXPECT→
With his easy laugh and infectious enthusiasm, it was such a pleasure to chat with renowned playwright, Justin Fleming, on the phone from Brisbane. He will be in Sydney soon for the opening of his new play DRESDEN, another production with long-time collaborator Suzanne Millar. Fleming and Millar have collaborated on six productions but this will be the first at KXT Bakehouse.
1838: Richard Wagner writes Rienzi. Seventy years later, a 17-year-old Adolf Hitler witnesses the composer’s extraordinary first opera in performance - and is struck dumb. For Wagner, it was one of the greatest creative acts known to us.
For Hitler, it set in motion the greatest wave of human destruction we have ever seen. For both, the city of Dresden is their stage.
Justin Fleming’s explosive new play puts passion and power under the microscope through the lens of history and our own horrifying hindsight.