A Bright Room Called Day
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Jeff Thomas

A Bright Room Called Day, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) is more like a long dayís journey into a Hitler night. The drama, which is now playing at Actors Theatre of Santa Rosa, focuses on a group of artists and political activists struggling to survive in 1930sí Berlin as Hitler comes to power.

The evil of Hitler is a subject that continues to draw writers. It was one of the darkest, most chaotic times in human history and many writers feel the need, through poetry, prose and drama, to turn this chaos into some semblance of order. There are moments when Kushnerís poetic words succeed in bringing a strange beauty to the ugliness of this historic evil. Also, Kushnerís ability to find humor in the most depressing events provides another saving grace to this play. But even with the great performances of Actors Theatreís excellent cast, this is still a painful production to sit through.

Itís too much history lesson and not enough drama. Slides of Hitlerís rise to power with historical commentary are shown throughout this over three-hour play. Its effect is deadly Ė stopping what little action the drama provides. We donít need to be beaten over the head with it. Kushner would have spent his time better by building his characters into people the audience could care about. As is, most of his characters are more stereotypes than real people.

I only recommend this play to Kushner fans. Most of us go to the theatre to be entertained. We donít mind if the author has a message as long as weíre entertained as well, or the play at least provides a powerful dramatic impact. Unfortunately A Bright Room Called Day is a long nightís history lesson with too few bright moments.

For tickets or more information call (707) 523-4185 or visit www.actorstheatre.com.

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