Classic Kushner play ties Reagan to Hitler

Classic Kushner play ties Reagan to Hitler
Photo by Steve Solomonson

A classic — and controversial — play that ties Adolf Hitler to Ronald Reagan is hitting the stage (er, hitting the round) at Brooklyn College this month.

“A Bright Room Called Day,” by award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, tells the story of the rise of Hitler through the eyes of a young actress in the 1980s during the AIDS crisis, and how inaction by those who could have stopped him paved the way for the Holocaust to unfold.

“When Hitler came to power, nobody really knew what he was going to do. Nobody took it that seriously,” said Mary Beth Easley, artistic director of Brooklyn College’s theater department. “The whole thing is a call to action,”

The play illuminates the similarities between the inaction of major world powers during Hitler’s rise, and the United States’ unwillingness to treat or research the disease that killed thousands during the heights of the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s.

The entire play — which will be performed in the round, with the audience surrounding the actors who are arranged in the center of a circle — takes place in a single room. The play was controversial when it premiered in 1985 as a stunning critique of Ronald Reagan, and will be no less tendentious today.

“A Bright Room Called Day” at Walt Whitman Theatre [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Midwood (718) 951-4500] on Feb 23-March 4, 7:30 pm. $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors and $6 for students. For more information, visit www.brooklyncenter.com

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow his tweets at twitter.com/dsmacleod.