TNT and ADG Europe revive the highly successful touring production
in autumn 2020, running through to spring 2021
The production dramatises a documentary event in 1960's California. A well-meaning teacher tried to explain the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party in a democracy by setting up a social experiment in his school. The project went badly wrong and a very different type of lesson was learnt than the one intended. TNT's stage version of this terrifying event assumes even greater relevance in our own troubled times.
Review Tagblatt Minden
Mit fünf Schauspielern und wenigen Requisiten macht das TNT Theatre Britain zwei spannende Stunden im Theater, die dazu noch ein tiefgründiges Thema behandeln. Für "The Wave" spendeten die überwiegend jungen Zuschauer herzlichen Applaus."
With only five actors and a few props, TNT Theater Britain creates two exciting hours of theater and deal with a profound topic. The mostly young audience gave "The Wave" warm applause.
"The Wave" sparks questions among Arabs and Jews in Israel
BAQA AL-GHARBIYE - By the end of their two-week tour, thousands of Jewish and Arab Israeli high school students, will have seen The Wave, a play about a classroom experiment that went too far, as students become swept-up in Nazi-style ideology. Based on a true story, the English-language play by ADG and TNT Theatre, an English-language theater based in Munich, was warmly received by Israeli students, who all study English in high school.
In the play, teacher Ben Ross tries to motivate his high-school students by starting a new movement called The Wave, complete with banners, armbands and slogans.
"Strength Through Discipline," the students yell, while offering a Nazi-style salute, "Strength Through Community," and "Strength Through Action." The movement gradually turns violent, with students beating up anyone who is not a member of the group. In one scene, Laurie, one of the skeptical students, confronts Ross and tells him, "Did you hear that a Jewish kid got beat up?"
For the Arab students watching the play at the Al-Qasemi College in Baka al-Gharbiye, the "oppressors" are the Jews, while they, the Arab citizens of Israel, are the victims. While the 20% of Israel’s citizens who are Arab have full voting rights, they have long complained of institutionalized discrimination by the Jewish majority. The current political wrangling over a new bill to legislate Israel as the Jewish nation-state has only intensified these feelings.
The play is emotional for the five actors as well, four of whom are making their first visit to Israel. The company is based in Munich, Germany and rehearsals took place there and in London. The show toured Norway before coming to Israel.
"I performed the same show with a different cast in Berlin," Jean-Paul Pfluger, who plays Ben Ross, told The Media Line. "At the end of the rally when I have the line, 'you would have made great Nazis,' it obviously means something else in Berlin."
The Holocaust imagery is also potent in Israel, where almost 200,000 Holocaust survivors make their homes. One member of the cast, Adam Pelta-Pauls, 24, who grew up in Potomac, Maryland, says it is an important piece for him.
"My grandparents were both survivors and it made it really personal for me really quickly, especially rehearsing in Munich and close to Dachau where so many of my people were interred, lived and died in horrible ways," he told The Media Line. "It gave me a personal hand in making sure something like that doesn’t happen again. At the same time, we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again."
Pfluger says that the theater offers a chance for Jews and Arabs to meet in a non-political space.
"The whole reason we perform the show in Israel is as a means of a dialogue," he said. "A theater is a neutral space that can welcome both Arabs and Jews into the same space and hopefully it’s a really tiny drop in the ocean work towards some kind of resolution."