Judgment at Nuremberg | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Judgment at Nuremberg


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In the latest proof of the city's enlightened stewardship of the arts, the newly refurbished Loop Theater is hosting a revival of Louis Contey's riveting Shattered Globe Theatre production. A drama of judges judging judges set in 1948, Abby Mann's play gets more relevant with every headline: in Nazi Germany, civil rights were sacrificed for the supposed security of the state, national fears outweighed international respect, and secret tribunals dispensed politically motivated punishment. This fearless courtroom drama dares to accuse Winston Churchill, the Vatican, and American industrialists of aiding and abetting Hitler. Moreover, it connects the "good" Germans with the ambivalent American victors. Every possible attitude toward crimes against humanity--skeptical, pragmatic, idealistic--is fleshed out here. The Shattered Globe troupe is awesome in its authenticity. Brian Pudil plays the bulldog prosecutor driven to crush Hitler's rubber-stamp judges with the very justice they denied others; Brian McCaskill plays the German defense counsel whose cross-examination reinvents Nazi thuggery; and Scott Aiello plays a sterilized victim of the Nazis who delivers harrowing evidence. The most powerful moment remains Maury Cooper's anguished confession as a top German jurist who bitterly acknowledges a higher good than the state. Doug McDade again brings bedrock dignity to the pivotal role of Judge Haywood, whose conversion to the cause of international justice is the play's biggest breakthrough. Loop Theater, 8 E. Randolph, 312-744-5667. Through October 12: Thursdays-Fridays, 7:30 PM; Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 3 PM. $22-$25.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Andrew Rothenberg.

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