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“Choir of Silence”

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Wenckheim, Nicholas (Hungarian born Argentinian playwright, commercialist, 1922-____), “Choir of Silence,” 

a 55-minute drama in English in fifteen scenes, set in a non-specific city in Germany, 1970, 1965, 1945, 1942, and 1945 in that order,

3m1f

; •  © 1995 by Nicholas Wenckheim; •  in Nicholas Wenckheim’s Choir of Silence (New York: The Author, 1995) ;  •  script/rights available from Nicholas Wenckheim, 530 Park Avenue, #6A, New York, New York. 10021, U.S.A., e-mail dbsouthampton@aol.com, telephone (home) 212-759-5353, fax 212-759-2335.  •  Cited by Nicholas Wenckheim via ftp June 17, 2003; Wenckheim says,

  § Dramatis Personae Tankred Schramm (m), 62, Council for the defense, appointed by the defendant; Wolf Rettner (m), __, aka “Azrael” the “Dark Angel”; Ottmar Rettner (m), __, brother of Wolf; Hanna Boland (f), 28, assistent council of Schramm.

   § Synopsis “In 1970, Wolf Rettner, a World War II criminal arrested in Paraguay, is on trial in a non specified city in Germany. Tankred, a mediocre council for the defense, wants to plead insanity; but Hanna, his far more astute young assistant council, soon discovers that the indicted is not Wolf but Ottmar Rettner, a brother of the criminal. Years ago, Ottmar had killed his brother in self defense, in Paraguay, where he was himself hiding in shame of his country’s war crimes and had decided to assume his identity, just so Wolf’s crimes would be officially punished. During his meeting with Hanna, Ottmar tells her that her father, who officially died on the eastern front as a hero, actually hanged himself in remorse for having delivered a friend to the Gestapo, ensuring that his daughter Hanna who’s one quarter Jewish blood had been kept secret, would avoid deportation. The defendant believes that his plan to die to avenge in some way the Holocaust had failed, but Hanna, who has fallen in love with Ottmar, does not reveal his identity, for she now realizes that she owes her very existence to the blood of an innocent. She gives up her career, thus satisfying Ottmar’s aim to join through his sentence the ‘Choir of Silence’ of the Holocaust.  

  §  Comment “Copyrighted July 7, 1995. Unit set representing on stage left, the cell where the defendant is kept. It has a cot, a stool and a small table. Adjacent, two chairs and a table furnish the room where Tankred and Hanna prepare their defense. A small platform representing Ottmar’s home in Villarrica (Paraguay), is pushed onto downstage center for scene vii. It contains a dilapidated armchair, a table, a chair and an old-fashioned trunk. Backstage is a screen used for projections during scene viii. During the blackout following scene xi, stage right is bare. During the blackout following scene xiv, stage left is empty as well. When the lights come up for scene xv, upstage center is a simulated furnace.”

  §  Themes deportation, family, friendship, Germany, Gestapo, hiding, Holocaust, insanity plea, Jewishness, mistaken identity, Paraguay, shame, trial, World War II.

See also Nicholas Wenckheim's

  • "Ice Eaters," a 50-minute drama in English, in six scenes, set in a cell in a jail, mid winter, 1981, 1m1f
  • "Out of Eden," an 8-minute tragi-comedy in English, set inside a uterus, anytime, 1m

This Website continues under construction and welcomes new citations and comments.

Page mounted June 23, 2003, and updated July 25, September 19, 2003, by the Webmaster.


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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

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