Theatre fans! For those who are lovers of highly charged and eye-opening plays, Martin Sherman’s ‘Bent’ is arriving at Stage Door in Southampton on the 18th and 19th February 2016. Arena Theatre, which is popular for staging plays that tackle challenging subjects with skilled and versatile actors, is finally making it possible to allow ‘Bent’ to come alive.
For anyone who enjoyed Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, this play also discusses the topic of the prejudice that homosexuality faces, except this time with a German twist as the story is set during the Holocaust and follows the journey of Max, a gay man that is sent to Dachau under the Nazi regime that keeps his sexuality a secret. Upon entering concentration camps, victims were given either a yellow badge or a pink triangle to be sewn on their outfits. Denying his homosexuality, Max is given the yellow badge – known as the label of shame that is given to Jews. Within the camp he meets a Horst, who wears a pink triangle that are given to those frowned upon for being homosexual. However, Horst wears his pink triangle with pride and is not ashamed of his sexuality, leaving Max feeling even more conflicted about his own.
The director for the upcoming show is Hayley Tucker, who will be coaching an all-male cast of actors. Tucker has mentioned how ‘Bent’ shocked the audience when it was staged back in 1979, “Bent caused a stir originally staged in 1978 because many people didn’t know about the persecution of homosexuals by the Third Reich”.
The play has been known to be hugely ‘controversial’.
Tucker says of the play, “Regardless of the controversy, Bent became a worldwide hit because its incredibly touching and beautiful, albeit set in a very dark place and time”. Given the time and setting of ‘Bent’, those who have come across Bertolt Brecht’s Fear and Misery in the Third Reich will find themselves thrown deeper into the sensitive issues behind the Nazi world.
Not for the light-hearted, ‘Bent’ will challenge the thoughts of the audience and bring them a first hand experience into what it was like to be to be gay during these times. The emotions of the actors and the viewers will be stirred, bringing back terrifying and also painful set of events in history. It will be interesting to see how this play will perform in contemporary times. The Guardian has described Bent as a play of “importance, power and pathos that concerns us all. In its subtle characterisation and powerful analysis of human dignity under extreme duress, it is a play that transcends boundaries”.
If you find yourself at all curious about ‘Bent’, don’t hesitate to get along and experience a unique performance at Stage Door on either the 18th or 19th of February.
Tickets can be purchased at www.thestagedoor.org.uk now.