“The Hitler Youth Knife.”
“The Hitler Youth Knife” has been on our desk for a while. It was written by R. Alex Davis, who performed in our first three Rogue Company productions beginning with Titus Andronicus (2005). He played Reverend Hale in The Crucible (2006) and the title role in King Lear (2007).
With that background, Alex is obviously no stranger to dark psychological material. This short play is a disturbing but fascinating study of two college friends.
Mike is typical of many young men – once at university, he pushed his boundaries. Towards the beginning he got heavily involved with drugs and became sexually promiscuous. He has since moderated his drug habit, but there is some question about his relationships with women. He claims to have fallen deeply in love with at least two women in particular, but also seems to have a “love ’em and leave ’em” attitude – which could be an act.
Norman also has gone through some pretty serious experimentation, but doesn’t appear to be as callous with regards to women. Whereas Mike found meaning in the writings of German philosopher Immanuel Kant, Norman is more interested in religions of the world. In fact, he seems to fancy himself something of a teacher, perhaps even a prophet of sorts. He is particularly occupied with atonement and retribution.
Mike and Norman have a young woman in common. Mike dated Therese first, and took her virginity in a night of drug-fueled excess. According to Norman, this was not a consensual experience, and Mike’s abusive behavior and callousness towards Therese afterwards left her extremely hurt and confused.
Norman is now with Therese, and he is focused on exacting punishment on Mike. The two have not spoken to each other for a while, presumably since Norman and Therese have been together.
“The Hitler Youth Knife” is the conversation that occurs when Norman confronts Mike with what he now knows about Mike’s relationship with Therese.
I’ve tapped Matt Fields, who has been performing with Bare since he was 14 (he’s now in college himself), to play Mike. Matt has been in almost every show I’ve directed. Justin Smith debuted with Bare in our critically-acclaimed adaptation of NC slave narratives, Let Them Be Heard (2012), and he plays Norman.
Both actors are talented individuals who are fearless onstage. I am looking forward to the energy they bring to this piece, and I think it will be an electrifying part of WINTER ACTS!