Our choices define us. The choice to go to war. To join a fight. To be a friend. To spend time with someone. To pull the plug.
We never know what path our choices will send us down. We never know if we will like the outcome. We never know what we will regret.
Such choices are a central theme of Field Trip Theatre’s moody, gripping, must-see production Fallbeil at this year’s Capital Fringe.
The play follows twin stories: the story of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans – executed in 1943 in Nazi Germany for distributing anti-war leaflets – and the story of Else, a young woman in present-day Germany about to face her own difficult decision, a decision whose effects will ripple through the rest of her life.
Field Trip Theatre’s mission is to support emerging artists through the development and production of new plays and in Fallbeil they have succeeded brilliantly. The script by Liz Maestri is sharp, powerful, and – above all – real. It balances moments that cut to the heart with bits to make us smile. Little grins that remind us even in the midst of sadness and difficulty it is all right to smile.
The well-honed text is brought to life by a fantastic ensemble of actors. Chelsey Christensen’s portrayal of Sophie is spot-on perfect – at times vulnerable, scared, courageous, and determined. She and actor and Kevin Collins as Hans capture the essence of siblings who bicker and grumble but know that when push comes to shove they will always be there for each other.
by Liz Maestri
at Mount Vernon United Methodist Church – Mountain
900 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Details and tickets
DC newcomer Angie Tennant’s quirky, punk vibe is perfect for Else, and she, too, turns in a stunning performance. Josh Adams is unforgettable as Else’s best friend – her only friend. In a show full of memorable moments and images, one especially fun bit lies in watching the two of them sprawled out, playing video games.
Not to be left out is Matthew Hirsh as Fritz, Sophie’s former boyfriend and Nazi sympathizer, who reminds us just how chillingly twisted Germany became during those dark years.
The talent does not stop at the acting, writing, nor direction. Stephen Strosnider’s set would not look out of place on the stage of any theatre in DC – quite an accomplishment when there are only 15 minutes to load it in and out for each performance. Chris Holland’s lighting design makes that set shine. Expert sound design by Palmer Hefferan knits the present and the past together and carries the audience effortlessly between the two.
Fallbeil is an impressive, accomplished production that must be seen to be believed. You don’t want to miss this one.