Theater Review: 'Hitler'

Directed by Amir Urian and Avi Gibson Bar-El Room Theater, March 30

AMIR URIAN in ‘Hitler’ 370 (photo credit: Michal Baratz)
AMIR URIAN in ‘Hitler’ 370
(photo credit: Michal Baratz)
Astrong stomach is required to sit through Amir Urian’s 70-minute Hitler, a deeply, deeply disturbing monodrama that roils both the head and the gut.
On the one hand it’s shallow, clichéd, vulgar and self-indulgent.
On the other it’s Hitler’s last, best ploy. He doesn’t seek to destroy us physically any more, but from within, to eviscerate us, to drag us silenced into historical oblivion.
“I am the symbol of your historic suffering,” he gloats, “without me you don’t exist.”
The storyline is simple.
Hitler’s double died in 1945, not he. Now, in the twilight of his life, Hitler is in Israel, here, with us, to explain himself and hopefully to be killed.
Yes, Urian tends to overact.
Yes, the not-so-subtle suggestion that within us all there lurks a Hitler, that Israel has become the new master-race with übermensch pretensions is, shall we put it politely, more than unfortunate, but by and large I’ll go with the “last best ploy” interpretation.
Why? Because respected theater practitioner Urian is neither shallow nor vulgar, but Herr Schickelgrüber (and Hitler abhorred being reminded of the name he was born with), was both.
Urian’s Hitler sees us as we see him, “just people,” he rambles and raves, he slobbers and jerks, he exhorts and pleads, he’s “just human” like the rest of us. But a humanized monster is still a monster.
Toward the end, Urian opens his mouth in a huge, silent scream. It’s like Edvard Munch’s famous painting, a depiction of primal fear or anguish. It’s like an opening into Dante’s Hell – “Abandon hope all ye that enter here.”
If you’re prepared to have mind and soul battered, then Hitler is a show to see.