Acme Theater Presents: White Rose

For three weekends in a row from January 4 through 21, Acme Theatre Company will take on yet another historical show with great significance in today’s world: The White Rose, by Lillian Garrett-Groag. The story illustrates the lives of Sophie and Hans Scholl in 1942 Germany. In the midst of Nazism, a small group of activist teenagers, inspired by their philosophy teacher, do what they can to be the voices of reason: they print and distribute pamphlets that criticize the Fuhrer.
Davinci students make up half of the tight-knit cast of ten. Junior Dezla Dawkins will play Alex Schmorell, Junior Cory McCutcheon is Hans Scholl, Junior Garnet Phinney will appear as Robert Mohr, Sophomore Grey Turner as Anton Mahler and Senior Michelle Monheit as Sophie Scholl. Sophomore Sam Cubbage is Acme’s stage manager. The script has a cast of only eight, but Acme alumni and director Emily Henderson double cast roles Sophie Scholl and Robert Mohr. This means audiences will experience a very different actor-dynamic depending on which day(s) they see the show.
Performances will take place at Pamela Trokanski’s Performing Arts Center. The space, seating only about 70 people, may sound familiar. This is because Acme performed Pronoun there last winter. In such an intimate space, actor’s expressions are more visible and create a movie-type feeling in any script. This is why it’s so fitting for the company’s most serious plays, which require realistic depiction of sensitive topics, to be performed in this venue. This also means that there is a higher chance of tickets selling out. Pronoun, which was performed with post-show community discussions, sold out quickly. Luckily The White Rose will run for three weekends.
Actors have found the rehearsal process to be a learning experience and an inspiration to be more aware of what they can do to make change, even as teenagers. Each Thursday over the last few months, Acme has held workshops and play readings open to all high school students, called “Thursday Things”. Among these are workshops on the historical background of The White Rose resistance, discussions about faith, activism and social justice.
Monheit found the playwright’s foreword to be a good explanation of her personal takeaway from The White Rose. She says, “Throughout the process of this show one of the biggest things that I have learned is that Davis is not a bubble, at least not under these terms. It’s very easy to learn about injustices and say “oh, that’s terrible, but it would never happen here”, and that’s simply not true. In the foreword of the play, the playwright, Lillian Garett-Groag, talks about how we attribute horrifying injustices to ‘amorphous masses of people’. She then goes on to say: ‘Above everything else, into our ‘glamorizing’ of evil (by that I mean in our insistent placing it into the realm of exotic and out of the common place) we have accustomed ourselves to view it as a premeditated leap of the mind into the unfathomable abysses of the soul… In other words, the work of monsters, never of people like you or me’ (Lillian Garett-Groag).”
Turner, who plays a young Gestapo member investigating the White Rose organization, says he hopes that audiences leave “knowing that you cannot be silent in the face of oppression. If you are neutral, you are on the side of the oppressor.”

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