‘SHADOW OF HEROES’ BY ROBERT ARDREY
November 9 – December 9, 2018
How fragile is a dream?
Three friends and lovers in Budapest struggle to find freedom, from the liberation from the Nazis in 1945 to its invasion by the Soviet army in 1956.
A story of devoted idealists fighting for their beliefs in the face of political opportunism, temptation, and betrayal, a chilling insight into the fragility of decency and conviction in the face of authoritarian power.
“If we haven’t done things for some greater good, Julia, then we’re common criminals and that’s all”
Ideals remain ever beyond our grasp…hence the name. And yet we uphold them: aspirations to which we may ever strive. Should we? When does devotion to an ideal beget an ideology? And if we cleave to it too tenaciously, blinkered creatures that we are, might we be doomed betray the very dream to which we aspire?
Robert Ardrey’s Shadow of Heroes begins here and plunges into thorny political, moral, and even epistemological quandaries. The play does so with dramatic flair and heartfelt passion, showing historical movements through the lives and relationships of human beings in all their pathos, humor, frailty, and transcendence. The result is not only a philosophical confrontation, but exciting, moving, funny, and frightening theater.
Based on actual people and events, Shadow of Heroes is an American author’s account of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. We begin in a Budapest safe house in 1944, the eve of the Nazis’ defeat, as three resistance fighters plan to make contact with their Russian liberators. The extraordinary stories of the three—committed Communist leader László Rajk, his wife and partner Julia, and his deputy János Kádár—unfold as they help to create a post-war government under Party directives from Moscow. The twisting history sees János, an obedient worker, ascend almost in spite of himself to party leadership; László, whose popularity threatens the state’s authority, convicted of treason one year, but rehabilitated seven years later; and Julia imprisoned, then released, and then embraced as a martyr who inspires the rebellion itself…as well as the Soviet tanks that crushed it.
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Photos: Metropolitan Playhouse