By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
It's being staged as our secretary of state accuses the president of Syria of being like Hitler. This is not so different from Kushner's earlier version of this play, which essentially accused Reagan of being Hitler, and then Thatcher of being Hitler. As the play itself points out, Hitler created a standard for evil that's no longer workable. Comparing any horrible act to Hitler's atrocities, as has been done and overdone, renders any comparison to Hitler as fatuous — to borrow Frank Rich's word. Things were easier to comprehend when Reagan's philosophies were advanced by the Bushes, but when Obama, who was elected on his promise of change and hope, is either acting or being prodded to act in much the same way as his predecessors, what does Kushner's play actually mean in the year 2013?
It is clearly a study in evil, now a study without Zillah's grating rhetoric, a study enhanced by its portrait of how a Satanic cult such as the Third Reich can send self-interested humanitarians — the people who populate this play — scurrying for the border. For all its political charge, I'm not convinced the play has a resonant political calling. If it's an echo of Ionesco's Rhinoceros, that people must stand up to the bullies and their acquiescent mob, who now is the Third Reich? Whose hands are clean enough to make that charge? Whose are not bloodstained? A political play is about power and its abuses, whereas Bright Room spends most of its scenes depicting human weakness. It asks the unspoken question, if the Third Reich were to emerge on our shores in 2013, what would we do?
Even in this less than perfect production, that question lingers. It invades our dreams, like music.
130 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Region: Melrose/ Beverly/ Fairfax
A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY | By Tony Kushner | Presented by Coeurage Theatre Company at the Lost Studio, 130 S. La Brea Ave. | Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. l Sun., 7:30 p.m.; through Sept. 15 | (323) 871-5830
Editor's note: A previous version of this story misidentified the actor portraying Husz. He is Miles Warner. We regret the error.