The United States stage premiere of a BBC teleplay (2008) written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce depicting a story based on actual events*.
Auschwitz during World War II.
A group of Jewish prisoners are selected to be exterminated. As each man—the chosen and those reprieved—struggle to accept their fate, an argument erupts. Powerless to hold their oppressors accountable, fear gives way to anger and some begin to question the continued faith of the devout among them.
Yet rather than tear each other down, in a remarkable act of dignity and civility, they hold a trial and attempt to find an answer: Is God to blame?
The Charge: Has God broken his covenant with the Jewish people by allowing genocide?
As witnesses are called and the line between prosecution and defense becomes blurred, the trial that unfolds is a living testament to the resolve of the 6 million souls that perished and an attempt to reconcile their relationship with a higher power when facing the prospect of their own extinction.
* Written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, as a television play produced by Hat Trick Productions and shown by the BBC on 3 September 2008. Production was supported by PBS, which screened the play as part of its Masterpiece anthology. The play is based on an event described by Elie Wiesel in his book The Trial of God, though Boyce describes this tale as "apocryphal". According to Boyce, producer Mark Redhead "had been trying to turn the story into a film for almost 20 years by the time he called me in 2005 to write the screenplay." However, Wiesel later confirmed that the story was true, and that he was personally witness to it. *Wikipedia
BACKGROUND - DIVE DEEPER
Wiesel: Yes, we really did put God on trial, Jenni Frazer, The JC
"The compelling and disturbing television drama is as powerful as anything you’ll encounter on the stage or big screen" Anthony Sacramone, First Things
“… big topics addressed with a striking lack of sentimentality, quite a feat considering the setting. You will weep, but you will also think. And although the weeping will stop fairly soon after the credits role, with any luck, the thinking will not.” Mary McNamara, LA Times
"... though Mr. Boyce is covering a lot of fairly well-worn territory in the why-do-bad-things-happen debate, he does so elegantly, weaving biblical citations, Jewish history and personal stories of Holocaust horror... subtly stirring..." Mike Hale, New York TImes
GOD ON TRIAL
by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
for an original television series produced by Hat Trick Productions
University of Nebraska Omaha - Weber Fine Arts Building, Room #006