Paul Langley is an academic whose deep knowledge of anti-Nazi theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer takes an unusual turn in Elizabeth Avery Scott?s play Lies, Love and Hitler.
Paul ? played by James Scott ? starts having visions of Bonhoeffer (Doug Chapman), who becomes a source of counsel when the academic falls in love with one of his students, Hannah (Ylaria Rogers). But the situation becomes more complicated and the ethical situation tricky.
Director Rochelle Whyte ? who has worked with the Sydney Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre, among others ? says, ??For me, the story is about responsibility and culpability and how you reconcile these things with the beliefs and morals you hold in your life??.
Do we choose to live according to a moral code we have chosen or been born into or do we work around it? ??It?s up to us,?? Whyte says.
Both Paul and Hannah are Christians and must try to deal with the impact of their behaviour on their beliefs. Paul believes in truth but his relationship with a student has to be kept quiet.
Bonhoeffer was faced with an even bigger issue of his own, presented in flashbacks: he had to reconcile his religious faith and its teachings with his involvement in a plot to assassinate Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
Whyte says that nowadays, ??There are many cultural influences that people can make a choice about what sort of of moral code they want to abide by??.
But choosing a code is only one part: living by it is another. And life mostly isn?t black and white, but shades of grey.
??We all recognise that and it makes the play interesting ? all people struggle with this in someway.??
The Scotts are married and run the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, where this production of Lies, Love and Hitler is being presented. The play was shortlisted for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award in 2009 and premiered in Canberra in 2010. Whyte didn?t see it and, apart from James Scott, the cast and directorare new, giving it a fresh perspective.
After this Canberra season, the new production will run at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in mid-April, where Scott will reprise his role.
Lies, Love and Hitler. Written by Elizabeth Avery Scott. Directed by Rochelle Whyte. CADAStudio Productions. CADA Theatre, Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, 1/9 Lithgow Street. Fyshwick. April 8-11 at 7.30pm. Tickets $35/$25. Bookings: cada.net.au.