Echoes of the Past Pulse through the Present in “Incident at Vichy”


By Michele Markarian


Incident at Vichy, by Arthur Miller.  Directed by Hatem Adel and Daniel Boudreau.  Presented by Praxis Stage, Inner Sanctum, 1127 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, through January 26.


The year is 1942.  Nine men and one fifteen-year old boy find themselves in a detention center in Vichy, France.  With one exception, none of them have committed any crime in the eyes of the authorities, save for one thing – they’re Jewish. The reality of this fact differs for each of them – several men, like Leduc and Lebeau, have been in hiding already. Monceau, an actor, believes that with the right aplomb, he can pull off anything, including false papers. The Waiter, who regularly serves the German officers, keeps insisting that they’re nice. Bayard, a Socialist electrician, believes that the working class will rise up and defeat the elitist Nazis. He is incensed when von Berg, the only known non-Jew in the prison, insists that the Nazis are working class. The tension between those who are in denial of what is happening around them and those who know the truth is only eclipsed by the tension and fear that they all share at being held.  Various authority figures come in and out of the room, occasionally summoning one of the captives to another room offstage, which only makes the men more fearful.


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