THEATER REVIEW: Incident at Vichy

You know that when you’re watching an Arthur Miller play some heavy caca bricks are gonna hit the proverbial fan. This is certainly true of his 1964 play, Incident at Vichy, currently running at Theater Row’s Beckett Theatre.

It’s a tight 90 minutes (without intermission) at an intimate theater, with a stark set by Scott Bradley and some effective lighting by Mary Louise Geiger. Taking place in Vichy France in 1942, this is a taught character piece, where a bunch of men (and one boy) from various occupations and economic backgrounds are brought into a detention cell after being rounded-up on the street. At first we think it’s all about the German’s concern over forged identification papers, but there is of course the Nazis need to destroy Jews that is really at the source of why these men are here and what will become of them. Through rumors of concentration camp atrocities, suspicions over occupations and even a nobleman’s stories of his home world being ripped asunder, we learn about the men on the bench and feel their palatable fear as one by one they are brought into an office and humiliated into ‘revealing’ themselves

Incident at Vichy supports a 15 character cast, all brilliant: from the burly electrician Bayard played by Ron McClary to the wounded German officer Major, played by Jack Koenig in a constant state of inner conflict to the nobleman, Von Berg played by Todd Gearhart, whose entire inner being is rocked to the core until he makes one last perfect sacrifice. Incident at Vichy is definitely tough stuff, but its damn good theater.

For more info on Incident at Vichy including purchasing tickets, the schedule, and more, go to The Actors Company Theatre

Ralph Greco, Jr.

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