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Entries in Hitler (2)

Monday
Jul102017

Call Redialed: Lucie Pohl: "Hi, Hitler" (NEW version) at The Cherry Lane Theatre

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy TuckerLucie Pohl is one of the funniest up and coming comedian/actresses/writers I have seen. I've known her for almost three years now and have seen two of her shows, both of which, left me in stitches. 

Now Lucie is revisiting her first one-woman show, with a re-worked version of Hi, Hitler, the story of Lucie finding her identity in NYC as an immigrant. Meet a German-Jew who grows up in a wild family of artists, is fascinated by the Fuehrer from age four, and is uprooted from Germany to NYC at age eight. Lucie yearns for normalcy, but being different seems to run in her bloodline and escaping her inherited high-drama-destiny might just be impossible.

Hi, Hitler will play at The Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street) from July 11-30. Click here for tickets!

For more on Lucie be sure to visit http://www.luciepohl.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. This July you are bringing a re-worked version of your award winning show Hi, Hitler back to NYC. How is this version different from the 2014/2015 version of the show? The new version of Hi, Hitler has lots of new material, most of the design team is new and I am working with a new director: the absolutely amazing Kenneth Ferrone! The show is funnier, sexier and better than blueberry pie!

2. What made you want to change up the show to this new version? I have done this show over 65 times in five different countries but I always felt the show still had more to give if I would just keep digging. I always wanted to see this show on a bigger scale, with set design, proper lighting! I wrote Hi, Hitler three years ago and have learned a lot and grown as a performer so I wanted to revisit it and make a Hi, Hitler super show!

3. What excites you about debuting this updated production of Hi, Hitler? Absolutely everything! Doing a three week run of my own show at the Cherry Lane Theatre on the most beautiful street in New York City is a REAL-LIFE dream come true for me! More than anything I am excited to try out the new material, I wrote a whole new ending for the show.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy Tucker4. You play over 30 characters in this show. Who's the easiest character to perform? Who's the most challenging? The easiest character to perform is my dad Klaus! He is larger than life and just like a crazy cartoon in real life so that makes it easy...The most challenging character to play is myself...Ummm, who am I? I have no idea.....

5. With all that is going on in this world over immigration and the travel ban, thanks to that moron in the White House, how do you feel your show is even more relevant than previously? Thank you for this question! I absolutely feel my show is more relevant than ever now that we have the Morange (that's what I call him - the orange moron - morange) in the White House. Him and his administration have attacked all of us immigrants! I feel angry and vulnerable and I think it's SO important to give immigrants of all kinds and backgrounds a voice right now. We are this country!

6. In this post-election life we live, how do you feel your upbringing actually prepared you for what is going on? My upbringing was intense and full of drama, in that sense I am well prepared for the ups and downs we are experiencing right now. My family has always been very political, my mother was a political prisoner in East Germany, my grandmother had to wear the yellow star, my father's parents were refugees from East Prussia, so politics was always a topic in our house growing up. I grew up with stories of speaking up and speaking out against oppressors, which makes it easier to navigate a time like this I think. When I asked my 95 year old Romanian-Jewish grandmother what she thought of Trump she said, "What do I think? I think I have already survived three mentally ill people who tried to ruin my life - Stalin, Hitler and Ceausescu and now this Trump is number four! But let me tell you something, there is always a crack you can find to live your life and speak out!"

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy Tucker7. During his campaign and even still now, that idiot in the White House has been compared to Hitler, some even saying, he's Hitler #2. How do you think the original Hitler would react to this new Hitler-like person? If the election were between Hitler #1 and Hitler #2, who do you think would win? Hitler is a synonym for evil. And the problem with evil is not when it's in one person, the problem is when other people enable and support that evil, normalize it. I think that's what is happening right now and that is why morange is being compared to Hitler. So, I'm not sure I can answer that question. I think it's more important to think about, educate and fight all the people who are giving someone so divisive, bigoted and dangerous, power.

8. As you say in the show, while your friends were obsessed with candy, you were obsessed with Hitler. If you could have dinner with Hitler, what would you talk about? If I could have dinner with Hitler I would poison his soup, then I would spit in his soup and then I would tell him he's a piece of shit!

9. Throughout the show, you also talk about the high-drama of your family that you feel you have inherited. What is the most dramatic thing you would say ever happened to you? The most dramatic thing that ever happened to me is when I was six years old in Hamburg, Germany and did not win a meet and greet with David Hasselhoff at his concert. That was the day I learned what real pain felt like.

10. As a German-Jew, do you ever have a dilemma with what to make for dinner? As a German-Jew everything in my life is a dilemma.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy TuckerMore on Lucie:

Lucie is currently the voice of "Mercy" on Blizzard's massive hit video game Overwatch, which boasts over 30 million registered players. She has appeared in the films Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Warner Bros.), Not Fade Away (Paramount/David Chase), and The Odd Couple (Margarethe von Trotta/Heimatfilm). She was also featured on Homeland (Showtime) and the wildly popular UK series Red Dwarf XI (Amazon).

Friday
Oct212016

Call Answered: Andrew Bergh: The Radicalization of Rolfe at SoHo Playhouse

The hills are alive with the sound of Heil Hitler! Ever since I was a kid, I have loved The Sound of Music. The story, the songs, the beauty of Austria's hills, all of it. The one part of the film I never cared for was the part about the Von Trapp's being chased by the Nazi's. As a Jew and a gay man, I'm very sensitive to that subject matter, but when I heard about Andrew Bergh's show The Radicalization of Rolfe, a new play inspired by the secondary, but vital character of "Rolfe" and his climb through the Third Reich while incorporating the questioning of "Rolfe's" sexuality, I was very intrigued.

The Radicalization of Rolfe will play the SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street), as part of the Fringe Encore Series from October 23-29. Click here for tickets!

For more on The Radicalization of Rolfe follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Logan Sutherland as "Rolfe" and Alex J. Gould as "Johan," Photo Credit: Dixie Sheridan1. Your show The Radicalization of Rolfe is returning to the Fringe Encore Series at the SoHo Playhouse. What are you looking forward to about this return engagement? I want to thank and acknowledge the 2016 NYC International Fringe Festival, The Present Company and especially Producing Artistic Director Elena Holy for selecting The Radicalization of Rolfe for the 2016 festival. Also, a huge shout out to Britt Latfield and all at the Soho Playhouse for selecting us for the Encore series and giving us a second chance to run the play.

I’m very curious to see how our talented cast comes back to the play after a six week hiatus. This second run, I think, will be a bit more relaxed than the initial Fringe run and I expect an even more cohesive performance. I ran into Dominic Comperatore (Herr Zeller) at a reading of another play he was participating in, and he said how revisiting a production for a second run always has an air of excitement in seeing what new discoveries the cast brings to the project. As a playwright, I’m always stunned by what talented actors discover in my writing, and I think this second run will be no exception.

Jay Patterson as "Franz," Logan Sutherland as "Rolfe" and Dominic Comperatore as "Herr Zeller," Photo Credit: Dixie Sheridan2. The Radicalization of Rolfe is inspired by the backstory of the lesser-known but vital secondary characters in the legendary musical The Sound of Music, namely "Rolfe." What initially made you want to explore "Rolfe" in this depth and then bring into question his sexuality? I became interested in secondary characters after meeting Brian Murray. Brian is a good friend of Abigail Zealey Bess, the director of Rolfe. Abigail approached Brian about a role in another one of my plays. Brian’s first Tony nomination was for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Now, at the same time of meeting Brian, I was reading Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph. That play was printed in American Theater magazine. In Joseph’s bio he talked about doing something grand with the building of the Taj and in his efforts discovered his most interesting characters were his two guards, secondary characters.

Well, that led me to think if I was to write a play about secondary characters who would it be? And The Sound of Music instantly popped into my head. I mean, the family treks over the Alps and you think it’s a happy ending. But, what happens to those left behind? No happy ending there. And exploring "Rolfe" as a young man discovering his sexuality kind of became a no-brainer in terms of structure and conflict and inner conflict.

3. It's funny you allude to the fact "Rolfe" might be gay because when The Sound of Music sing-a-long was going around the country in the late 90s/early 2000s, I "dressed up" as "Rolfe" wearing a flashy blue shirt and black pants and when they called all the "Rolfe's" in the audience up on stage, I was described as the gay "Rolfe." What made you think "Rolfe" might be a homosexual? How did exploring his sexuality expand or change his story? How much of your own exploration is in "Rolfe's"? The only thing I think I can add to this that wasn’t answered in question two is that I find I’m all my characters and all of my characters are me. One day in rehearsal, I was watching Logan Sutherland (Rolfe) and Alex J. Gould (Johan) run a scene and I saw so much of my story and struggle was up there. It’s always a surprise to me when that happens because that parallel is not intentional. But, there I was. Surprised again, thinking "Oh. There I am." (P.S. Logan and Alex are a joy to watch).

Logan Sutherland as "Rolfe" and Alex J. Gould as "Johan," Photo Credit: Dixie Sheridan4. With "Rolfe" trying to make his way in the Third Reich and rise in the new order, how do you think The Third Reich would react to "Rolfe's" being gay, I mean considering, they killed over a million gays in the concentration camps. Do you feel "Rolfe" would be the "acceptable gay" since he was already part of the Third Reich or do you think he would be exiled to the gas chambers? The Third Reich would have absolutely destroyed Rolfe had they known. Absolutely.

5. With Donald Trump being compared to Hitler in this election year, did that help make now the right time to present this show in the 2016 Fringe Festival, or were you planning for it regardless? This ties into question two a bit. I study with both Chris Ceraso and Abigail Zealey Bess. Chris  runs a weekly playwriting lab called Works in Progress and I meet with Abigail every other week for a more intense two hour one on one. Chris and Abigail both teach at universities. Chris at Drew in Madison, NJ and Abigail at NYU here in the city. And last August (2015) both told me there would be no meetings until mid September as they were preparing for fall classes. Now, at that time, all the projects I was working on were ready for the next step and I had nothing to work on. And that’s when I started to think of secondary characters. Any comparison to the present political and social situations both here and abroad are both a coincidence and "a gift from the other side."

Polly Adams as "Frau Schmidt" and Jay Patterson as "Franz," Photo Credit: Dixie Sheridan6. While "Rolfe" is delivering a telegram to "Captain Von Trapp," he flirts with the Captain’s eldest daughter, under the watchful eye of the children’s new governess from nearby Nonnberg Abbey. When have you crossed the line of working and flirting? When have you been under the watchful eye of someone, but thought you were being so secretive? Before I came out, I was working in a restaurant back home and had a fling with a really cute guy I was working with. We kept the whole thing a secret as it wasn’t safe to be out. I think we were being watched. But, I think all closeted youth are paranoid that way.  A few years later, I came out to another co-worker of ours. I said "I have something to tell you." She said "what?" and I said "I’m gay."  She took my hand and said "Andy, you’re the last to know." So much for secrets.

7. In The Radicalization of Rolfe, you have "Rolfe" having an affair with another young German male. Was there ever a time you had an affair? If so, did the parties you were cheating on find out or did the affair just end? I can only handle one at a time.

Logan Sutherland as "Rolfe" and Alex J. Gould as "Johan," Photo Credit: Dixie Sheridan8. What do you identify most with about "Rolfe" and what is one quality of his you wish you had? His struggle to find himself. And I wish I could sing like him.

9. The Third Reich preyed on people who felt lost and isolated to join their ranks. Was there ever a time you felt lost or isolated and if the Third Reich were around today, do you think you would have been susceptible to joining a group like that? Drugs and alcohol were my Third Reich.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Having a positive attitude towards everything and working the laws of attraction.

More on Andrew:

Andrew Bergh is a NYC based playwright and the author of Bliss, Waiting ("Critic’s Choice" winner 2003 Samuel French Festival), Somewhere in the Middle, Kisses, Jane of  the Tree, The Domesticated Queer, The Last Day of Limbo, Lamentations of a Sinner among many others. Member, The Dramatists Guild. Many thanks to the Works In Progress Group and all who have contributed to this production.