Ohio Christian University’s Drama Team closed on this year’s fall production of Dark Road, written by Laura Lundgren Smith, on Friday, Nov. 12th. With almost 200 audience members in attendance, including many OCU staff, faculty, and students, the cast was grateful to have such a supportive audience.
Elly Diehl, a sophomore this year at OCU, played the lead character, Greta, who drives the plot of the play. By retelling the decisions that led her to become a brutal concentration camp guard, Greta reveals the deep psychological break that occurs when people normalize atrocities. Benjamin Woodland (sophomore) portrayed the character Daimler, a journalist posing as a fellow camp guard during his interview with Greta. Daimler later reveals he was a prisoner in Auschwitz for writing articles condemning the Reich and that his interview with Greta was an attempt to understand how one chooses evil and loses their soul. Both Woodland and Diehl had a difficult task of portraying these characters authentically, one searching for truth and the other still living in lies.
Another actress to receive accolades is Hallie Graf (junior) who played Lise, Greta’s younger sister. Her character acts as both Greta’s moral compass and foil, a challenging balance for Graf to maneuver. In contrast with the greyscale of the set and other characters, Lise is the only character with color in her costume and hope in her voice. Unfortunately, the only thing of beauty in this story is ultimately choked out in attempt to smother truth. At the conclusion of the play, Greta turns over her sister to the Ravensbruck commandant for being a social deviant and later reveals that her sister would have died in the gassings of prisoners right before the Allies liberated the camps. Graf’s desperate cries for help and innocent pleadings left the audience haunted and speechless.
With the help of Mitchell Smith (senior) as the production’s dramaturg, the entire cast brought this story to life with great care and attention to historical accuracy. All drama team members should be commended for handling such sensitive content with diligent research, careful combat training, and a mindfulness of the story’s central message: not to let evil creep in through everyday choices.
As Dark Road comes to a close, the OCU Drama Team looks forward to their spring musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and they hope audiences are ready to tackle another heavy question: what makes a monster and what makes a man? Be sure to mark your calendars for April 8th and 9th to see the team take on another incredible production.