An Historical Drama about Hilde and Roland in Englisch

Love in the Age of Hitler: A Courtship in Letters, 1938-​1940

An his­to­ri­cal dra­ma by K. Scott Baker, An­drew Stuart Ber­ger­son, and De­bo­rah Par­ker.

The let­ters of Hil­de and Ro­land lend them­sel­ves to ad­ap­tati­on as an his­to­ri­cal dra­ma for many re­a­sons. The­re is dra­ma in their self-​presentation as let­ter wri­ters, in the chal­len­ges they face at buil­ding their re­la­ti­ons­hip, and in their strug­gles to come to terms with both the Nazi re­gime and its in­crea­singly ge­n­o­ci­dal war for li­ving space’. Ad­ap­t­ing the­se let­ters to the thea­ter in trans­la­ti­on al­lows us to bring the T&S pro­ject to an English-​speaking au­di­ence for the first time.

Schau­spiel Pro­be, Kan­sas City, MO, USA, Mai 2017

In Fall 2016, the in­ter­na­tio­nal T&S team iden­ti­fied the most dra­ma­tic” let­ters from the ye­ars 1938 to 1940—the pe­ri­od of Hil­de and Roland’s courtship. In the Win­ter of 2016-​17, an Ame­ri­can team trans­la­ted a selec­tion of let­ters (in who­le or in part) and draf­ted a two-​act reader’s thea­ter” style play from them. Bea­te Pet­ti­g­rew di­rec­ted the play with a cast of stu­dents from John­son Co­un­ty Com­mu­ni­ty Col­le­ge in Over­land Park, KS. The play pre­mie­red on 20 May 2017 at the Dias­to­le Scholar’s Cen­ter on UMKC cam­pus. (A se­cond free, pu­blic per­for­mance of the play will take place June 4 at 2 PM in Grant Re­ci­tal Hall on UMKC Cam­pus.)

At its pre­mier, the play was per­for­med in the con­text of a work­shop Wri­ting Yours­elf into Histo­ry.” The work­shop brought scho­l­ars, stu­dents, and Kan­sas City re­si­dents to the Dias­to­le Scholar’s Cen­ter in or­der to view the play and re­spond to it.  The par­ti­ci­pants were in­vi­ted to watch a se­ries of short, di­gi­tal lec­tures that framed the play for non-​specialists. Af­ter at­ten­ding each act, the work­shop par­ti­ci­pants were in­vi­ted to dis­cuss the play in groups with dis­cus­sion lea­ders. At the end of the work­shop, in­di­vi­du­al par­ti­ci­pants were in­ter­view­ed about their re­spon­ses to Hil­de & Roland’s lives; their let­ters; and the play; and they were also promp­ted to re­la­te Hil­de & Roland’s histo­ry to their or their family’s ex­pe­ri­en­ces and to ex­plo­re the me­a­nings that this past might hold for our pre­sent.

A di­gi­tal re­cord of this play and work­shop is avail­ab­le on T&S’s You­Tube chan­nel in­clu­ding:

1. The in­tro­duc­to­ry lec­tures (play­list: Wri­ting Yours­elf into Histo­ry).

2. A filmed ver­si­on of the pre­mier per­for­mance (on the same play­list: forth­co­m­ing).

3. A do­cu­men­ta­ry film fo­cu­sing on the re­cep­ti­on of the play by the au­di­ence in both group dis­cus­sions and in­di­vi­du­al re­spon­ses (on the same play­list: forth­co­m­ing).

The Hu­ma­nities Con­sor­ti­um of UMKC spon­so­red this pro­gram with co­ope­ra­ti­on of the UMKC de­part­ments of Ger­man, Histo­ry, and Theat­re; the UMKC School of Gra­dua­te Stu­dies; the High School/​College DualCredit Part­nership; John­son Co­un­ty Com­mu­ni­ty Col­le­ge; the Lee’s Sum­mit School Dis­trict; the Mid­west Cen­ter for Ho­lo­caust Edu­ca­ti­on; the Shepherd’s Cen­ter KC Cen­tral; and the Mis­sou­ri Hu­ma­nities Coun­cil with the sup­port from the Na­tio­nal En­dow­ment for the Hu­ma­nities.