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“THE SOUND OF MUSIC” INTERIM REPORT AND THOUGHTS   8 comments

Whew! Last night’s anxiety was reduced with the musical warm-ups we did, and then the production went well. Of course, as actors, we didn’t get to watch the whole thing as we hid out in what I suppose would be called the green room if we were on TV – just a big room with lots of tables and our stuff. The best evidence was the applause at the end — it sounded and looked genuinely enthusiastic. More important personally, I know our nun’s quartet was well received. Since we have become a team, we did correct for a few of each other’s oversights, so no one knew the difference. Tonight I’m sure we’ll all be on target. And we did get laughs where we hoped for them.

So, now that I’m a little more relaxed — and enjoying it more — I’d like to make a comment about the show itself. More than an interesting musical story, “The Sound of Music” is a commentary on the early stages of the spread of the Nazi terror. Focused on the Austrian Anschluss, the issues apply to the whole period.

As a student, I was in Europe shortly after the end of WWII. I saw the devastation in England, Germany, and Austria as well as some of the other countries. Neither the attackers nor the defenders were ultimately spared.

I had a few dates in the rubble. I remember one night, for example, sitting with a G.I. on a pile of cement junk that had once been a building in Munich. There were other occasions when it was clear our local dates wanted marriage as a passport to the United States. (Those were the days when flying over the Netherlands pilots saw “Thanks, Yanks” spelled out in Tulips.)

What I remember even more is one of our German student guides saying, “This will come to your country someday.” I confess to having been watchful ever since. It’s the little things that whittle away at ¬†one’s consciousness until, like Pastor Martin Niemoeller one can only say:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

I have carried two lessons with me from that student’s and Niemoellor’s ¬†warning. (1) what happens to other people is important, because ultimately it comes home to me; and (2) be watchful – developments both bad and good happen in little increments. It’s like the frog who doesn’t do anything to escape from the boiling water because he is unaware of the gradual, seemingly unimportant changes in temperature.

So what does this have to do with the “Sound of Music?” The serious part of the message portrays three possible attitudes toward change. There is (1) Captain vonTrapp who sees the danger and refuses to go along with it; (2) Rolf Gruber and others who willingly join the Nazi cause; and (3) Max Detweiler who chooses not to choose but rather to go with the flow.

I want not to be Max Detweiler and, in the end, get caught by surprise. I want to avoid being in a situation where I’d need the courage of Captain vonTrapp, because I’m not sure I’m capable. And I certainly don’t want to contribute, either consciously or by neglect. to the development of the prejudice, cruelty, and violence purposely displayed by the Nazi regime.

SCARIEST OF All: I loved all the people we met in Germany and Austria. They were people like me. Not evil, not deliberately cruel or destructive. I can only conclude that many were the Max Detweiler’s of the time.

Well, so much for the serious side of a really fun production.

I hope good reports will continue,and eventually some photos.

 

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