Feb. 16, the day after Judgement at Nuremburg begins Broadway previews, Peter Weiss' The Investigation gets underway at Baltimore's Center Stage. This 1965 drama covers the less well-known, but equally important Frankfurt Trial of 1963-65, where hundreds of Auschwitz prisoners testified against 20 concentration camp workers.
Weiss (a Tony winner for Marat/Sade) compiled hours of testimony into a free-verse form that, while it remains plotless and lacks character in the traditional sense, conveys the pain, horror and power of the Frankfurt Trials. The Investigation premiered simultaneously in several German cities and London on Oct. 19, 1965 before moving to Broadway in 1966. The play caused such a stir at the time that it was broadcast by NBC, who then gave the program's profits to Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.
Center Stage artistic director Irene Lewis directs. Her recent credits with the company include She Stoops to Conquer, An Ideal Husband and The Hostage.
The Investigation features Laurence O'Dwyer, TJ Edwards, George Morfogen (An Inspector Calls), Stan Lachow (The Sisters Rosensweig), James Noah (The Grapes of Wrath), Stephen F. Schmidt, Gordon Joseph Weiss (Jelly's Last Jam), Elaine Bromka (The Rose Tattoo, I'm Not Rapapport), Merwin Goldsmith (Grand Hotel), Michael Lipton, Albert Macklin (Doonesbury), Jerry Matz, Frederica Meister, W. Alan Nebelthau, Michael Rudko (Serious Money), Laura Sametz and Jeffrey Ware.
Christopher Barreca (Marie Christine) tackles the abstract courtroom setting. Obie Award winner Mimi Sherin creates the lighting; Costance Hoffman, the costumes; and David Budries, the sound. Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and American Theatre Wing Award winner Wendall K. Harrington (The Who's Tommy) designed the projections. The Investigation opens Feb. 21 for a run through March 18. Tickets are $45-$10. The Pearlstone Theater at Center Stage is located at 700 North Calvert Street. For reservations, call (410) 332-0033. Center Stage is on the web at http://www.centerstage.org.
-- By Christine Ehren