Despite some of its dark subject matter, veteran stage, TV, and movie actor Tom Dugan has crafted the one-man play WIESENTHAL into what he calls “an entertainment, not a lecture” suitable for anyone 12 years of age and older. It opens tonight at 710 Main Theatre at 7:30 p.m. and concerns the Holocaust concentration camp survivor Simon Wiesenthal who dedicated his life to memorializing the millions who were killed in the camps and to hunting down their murderers.
Dubbed “the Jewish James Bond” Wiesenthal brought to justice over 1,100 Nazi war criminals. The dramatic arc of the play comes as we see Wiesenthal busy tracking down one such Nazi, getting closer and closer. But, in addition to the drama, according to Dugan in a recent telephone conversation, Wiesenthal had a wicked sense of humor that pervades the play. Because of both the drama and Wiesenthal’s personality, Dugan uses the word “entertainment” to describe the evening.
Dubbed “the Jewish James Bond” Wiesenthal brought to justice over 1,100 Nazi war criminals.
Tom Dugan, as you might suspect from the name, was born Irish Catholic. So why Wiesenthal? There were two primary driving forces. His wife, Amy, is Jewish and his sons are being raised Jewish (one son will be Bar Mitzvahed next month). He enjoys his life “as a welcomed outsider.” His father, a decorated WWII vet (Bronze Star and Purple Heart) as a teenager liberated a Nazi concentration camp in Germany. Despite seeing first-hand the horrors of the camps, and despite carrying German shrapnel in his hip for life, his father refused to condemn all Germans. Years later, reading about Simon Wiesenthal’s refusal to believe in “collective guilt,” Tom Dugan understood, in a personal way, what his father’s, and Wiesenthal’s, message was. And it was a message to learn from the past but to look to the future.
WIESENTHAL is only up for a few days: Tonight, Thursday, March 17 at 7:30, then Friday, March 18 at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday March 19 at 2 and 7 p.m. (final show). Runtime is said to be about 90 minutes with no intermission, but Dugan invites everyone to stick around for the talkback after each show. Suitable for ages 12 and up, and, according to the playwright, you can be an expert on all things World War II or know nothing about the Holocaust and the play will work for you, either way.