Incident at Vichy – still timely

incidentThis is Arthur Miller’s year. The spectacular revival of  “A View from the Bridge,”  is currently running on Broadway while the Signature Theatre brings us his 1964 one-act play Incident at Vichy. In no shape or form can this play compare to A View, but in Incident at Vichy Miller forces us to stare evil in its face and examine whether we’d have the inner strength needed to stop it.

Nine men and one boy are rounded up and brought to a detention center in Vichy, France. None know why, but they heard rumors that the Nazis were sending Jews to camps in Poland. All hope their identity papers will save them. Then they meet the German whose specialization is “racial anthropology” and things become much clearer. Like Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians,” these men are brought off-stage one by one to be questioned by the Nazis and French police. You hear the click of a camera and most disappear until there are only two left. This is when Miller gets a bit heavy-handed. The remaining two (one is a doctor, the other an Austrian prince) get into a long-winded political debate about standing up to evil. The end is a surprise – one you would hope to happen more often.

I unfortunately felt that, for the most part, the actors were not convincing so this revival comes across like a good amateur production. But considering this play had its first premiere more than 50 years ago, and was written about Nazism, it is amazing how it remains apropos and frightening. LAR

Pershing Square Signature Theater, 480 W. 42nd Street

Ticket prices: $75-$85

Discounts: none available at this time

Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Runs thru: December 20, 2015





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