William Furtwangler was the man who stayed behind: the enigmatic, renowned–and fundamentally inarticulate–Berlin Philharmonic conductor whose career was permanently tainted for having remained in Germany under Hitler. He was publicly embraced by Nazi party officials, and his concerts were broadcast to German troops. But was he actually there of his own volition? And what precisely were his politics?
Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides is based on the Allied after-war interrogations of one of the great musical minds of the 20th century, sessions that ultimately led to the conductor’s war crimes trial. In a high-stakes version of cat-and-mouse, an American major who’s convinced of Furtwangler’s guilt grills him to a turn. But what’s he really after: getting at the truth–or getting a conviction, no matter what the cost?
When we heard that Jordan Smith and John Murphy, two of the region’s top actors, had signed on as the conductor and the interrogator, our interest in this Wordshed and Ghost & Spice co-production immediately increased. This show should provide an up-close war of nerves–and possible food for thought about present U. S. interrogation practices as well.
Nov. 18-20, Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 8 p.m.; Nov. 21, Dec. 5, 2 p.m. Studio 6 Theatre, Swain Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill Campus. $5-12.