North Texas Daily

“Bent” provides perspective from the Holocaust

“Bent” provides perspective from the Holocaust

“Bent” provides perspective from the Holocaust
October 30
00:00 2014

Linda Kessler / Intern Writer

During their performance of “Bent” by Martin Sherman, 16 theatre students representing German citizens, Nazi soldiers and Dachau concentration camp prisoners will present aspects of the Holocaust that one does not always hear about.

Gay people were among Hitler’s “undesirables” who did not fit in the Nazi agenda,  director and dance and theatre professor Timothy Wilson said.

“’Bent’ focuses on the life of one of these men, his relationships, his quest for self-preservation and the choices he makes as he attempts to adapt to forces both within himself and those coming from others,” he said.

Wilson said he chose “Bent” because most people’s understanding of Holocaust history doesn’t fit the scope of the genocide.

“This play allows me the opportunity to expand the understanding of the broad scope of individuals affected by this tragedy,” he said. “In my research about the Holocaust, I have become convinced of the power of the arts to share these stories.”

The story “Bent” tells is still relevant today, theater senior Kenneth Davis said.

“‘Bent’ still has much poignancy in the current American culture, where LGBT rights are constantly in the forefront of people’s consciousness,” Davis said.

Wilson said he hopes the audience will leave “Bent” with a better understanding of differences and a deeper compassion for others.

Davis plays Horst, a concentration camp prisoner who, even in his situation, is openly and proudly gay because he believes he is a person just like anyone else, Davis said. He feels he understands the character well because he is gay.

“Being a gay man in a socially conservative state like Texas, I have experienced my own challenges in accepting myself and being open about who I am,” he said.

Journalism and theater junior Robert Warren plays a Jehovah prisoner in the camps named Alexander El Elyon. The Germans branded him with a purple triangle when he refused to participate in the war because of religious beliefs. Warren said he relates to his character because he is also very deeply connected to his faith.

“‘Bent’ impacted me from the moment we got the script. I read it and I knew I was a part of something special,” Warren said. “This isn’t just a show. It’s an experience.”

Warren said he views “Bent” not only as a play telling a story. It’s also delivering a piece of history that, while uneasy to talk about, cannot be overlooked.

Theater and history sophomore Nathan Israelson agrees.

“The show, the story and the actors deliver such a moving performance that I am still entranced by the production,” he said.

“Bent” will premiere in University Theatre on the first floor of the RTFP Building on Thursday Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and will run Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and Nov. 6-9. Shows will start at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. showing on Nov. 2 and 9. This play is intended for mature audiences.

Featured Image: From left to right, Blane Skiles is Rudy, Evan Scott is Max, Kenneth Davis is Horst and Brent Wenger is the S.S. Captain, in UNT Theatre’s fall 2014 production of Bent. Photo courtesy of Amanda Breaz

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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