BONHOEFFER’S COST (Beacon): 60-second review

Klopstock (Adam Hammet) entering Bonhoeffer’s (Chase Byrd) cell. Photo by James Jackson.
Klopstock (Adam Hammet) entering Bonhoeffer’s (Chase Byrd) cell.
Photo © James Jackson –

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of Germany’s most important theologians and a prominent opponent of Hitler’s vicious rule. The Nazi regime so feared his influence that they executed him shortly before the collapse of the Third Reich. However, they did not succeed in silencing his voice. His works are studied widely to this day, and playwright Mary Ruth Clarke was inspired by his story to write BONHOEFFER’S COST, a serious drama about the last year and a half of his short life.

Georgina Bard, founding artistic director of Beacon Theatre Productions directs the Philadelphia premiere of BONHOEFFER’S COST with great care. Chase Byrd, the perfect Bonhoeffer—gentle, modest, intelligent, torn, and innocent—moved from North Carolina to play the lead role in his Philadelphia debut. Adam Hammet, a British actor, is also performing in Philadelphia for the first time, as the fictionalized character Klopstock, the tough, yet self-doubting prison guard who eventually has a change of heart. Anna Lou Hearn plays Bonhoeffer’s naïve fiancée, Maria von Wedemeyer, in moving ways. Steve Underwood shows a wide range of acting—from the nasty, interrogating Judge Advocate Rott to a drunken Nazi who shows a different side. Writer and actor, Eamon R. McIvor, plays both Bonhoeffer’s brother Klaus Bonhoeffer and Walter Maetz, a condemned prisoner. Gil Johnson, back from performing in quite a few Shakespeare plays, rounds off the cast in the role of Hans von Dohnanyi, Bonhoeffer’s coconspirator. Light and sound design by James Jackson, the scenic design by Amy Lewis, and the costume design by Melissa Murray contribute toward a thought-provoking evening inspired by an extraordinary life story. [Olivet Covenant Presbyterian Church, 608 N. 22nd Street] April 10-25, 2015; Tickets.


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