Theatre ReviewsTom Williams


By Martin Shermanbent by martin sherman

Directed by Jacob Christopher Green

Produced by hubris productions

At GreenhouseTheater Center

Riveting gay Holocaust story worth a look

Hubris Productions ends its third season with Martin Sherman’s Bent.  This powerful drama is the first play centered on the Nazi’s use of the Holocasust to wipe out gays. Sherman makes a case that gays were treated worse than Jews.  Bent unfolds as a tribute to the power of the human spirit as it depicts the defiance of two brave souls.

Bent by martin sherman

In 1934 Berlin on the eve of the Nazi incursion, Max (Christopher Kauffmann), a grifter and his lover Rudy (Michael Shepard) are recovering from a night of debauchery with a SA trooper. Two soldiers burst into the apartment and slit their guest’s throat, beginning a nightmare odyssey through Nazi Germany. Ranked lower on the human scale than Jews, the men, as avowed homosexuals, flee. Desperate and on the run, Max asks his own “discreetly” homosexual Uncle Freddie (Gregory L. Payne) for help as the older man offers little more than suggestions on how to live, as he does, practicing homosexuality on the side. Attempting their escape, Rudy is beaten to death as Horst (Jason Ober), another homosexual prisoner, warns Max to deny his lover. Taken to a death camp at Dachau, Max and Horst branded with the “pink triangle”, hope to survive with each other for comfort and courage.

Bent by martin sherman

Max and Horst survive in Dachau by keeping their mental capacity sharp by verbalizing their lust and their love without either looking at each other or touching while they move rocks from one pile to another. Christopher Kauffmann’s Max and Jason Ober’s Horst presented outstanding performances as each digs deep in search of the truth of their characters.  Bent is a disturbing love story that vividly depicts the depths of the human spirit when faced with extreme deprivation.  The Hubris Production is well acted, especially from Ober and Kauffmann.  It is time that the gay victims of the Holocaust have their story told.


Tom Williams

At the Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL Call 773-404-7336, tickets $25, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through August 9, 2009

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