Making History Meaningful: The German Plays of Mieko Ouchi and Vern Thiessen
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Alberta playwrights Mieko Ouchi and Vern Thiessen both explore the tragic consequences of a political expropriation of the creative imagination for nationalistic ends. Their “German” plays interrogate history in terms of individual aesthetic and scientific choices and compromises. In Ouchi’s The Blue Light, Leni Riefenstahl defends her filmmaking for Hitler’s Third Reich as an apolitical artistic enterprise. In Einstein’s Gift, Thiessen compares the philosophies and beliefs of physicist Albert Einstein and chemist Fritz Haber in respect to their scientific research, and the ironic and disastrous repercussions of their work. Both plays engage in ethical debates on a personal and political level, revisiting history to consider the possibility of making moral choices within a totalitarian political system.