This Side of Eternity: The Story of Kristallnacht
Thursday, October 8th at the Terre Haute Brewing Company (401 S. 9th, Terre Haute)
Doors open at 5:30, Performance at 6:30
Sunday, November 11th at the United Hebrew Congregation Temple Israel (540 S. 6th, Terre Haute)
Doors open at 1:00, Performance at 2:00
Admission is $7 or $4 with a student ID. All ages are welcome, though, due to the play's references to the events leading up to World War 2 and the Holocaust, it may be best suited for those in and above middle school.
Summary of the play:
Germany, 1938. The Holocaust lies in the future but the Nazi propaganda machine is using peace-time to plant insidious seeds. Martin and Jozef find their life-long friendship tested when Hitler incites legal terrorism on his Jewish citizens. Can a Christian Nazi and his Jewish best friend hold their bond together or will they be swept into a conflict destined to consume the entire world?
In reflection of the 80th anniversary of this historic event, This Side of Eternity: The Story of Kristallnacht examines the nature of evil itself, the real human beings behind genocide, and asks if it’s possible to resist in the face of insurmountable odds. It explores the subtle roots of evil that are in place long before destructive choices occur and speaks to many issues dominating our current national discourse. Clear answers are hard to find but the heart of this play – two men who long to keep their deep bond as external forces seek to destroy it – challenges us to keep looking.
This Side of Eternity: The Story Behind the Story
It was actually 9-11 that started me on this path. Like so many, I watched those horrible images of television and kept asking, How does a person wake up and decide that murdering thousands of strangers is a good idea? It is possible to understand the logic, beliefs or emotions behind such actions?
It bought me to one of the greatest modern evils, the Holocaust. How could human beings like me – people who ate food, held hopes, dreams and fears, who wanted love and to be love – consciously decide to throw people into ovens? Of course, I understood some of the uglier parts of being alive: envy, anger and even hostile thoughts and feelings toward others.
But this was something I couldn’t get my mind around, and I wanted to. I needed to. One of the primary reasons I study psychology is that it offers an incredibly empowering tool: identifying reasons for many of the things that trouble us, including the evil we perpetrate against our brothers and sisters. If we can understand why we do things (e.g. remain in toxic relationships, reject people how different from us), we can change the very arc of our lives. I’ve seen it countless times and have lived it when I needed to course-correct from unhealthy behavior. It works!
This Side of Eternity explores the subtle roots of evil that are in place long before catastrophic decisions are made. Writing it helped me work through philosophical arguments that you will likely find familiar. As with similar problems, clear answers are hard to find. But the heart of This Side of Eternity – two men who long to keep their deep bond as external forces seek to destroy it – challenges us to keep looking.
Chris Bibby is a clinical psychologist from Terre Haute, Indiana. After 7 years at Hamilton Center, he moved to Chicagoland to open his own private practice. His first play, "Scaring the Normals", was produced by Theatre Nebula in 2013. He loves his work as he believes passionately in the power of psychotherapy to improve relationships and bring greater contentment. He creates stories in his free time (when not co-chasing a 6 and 3 year old with his lovely wife, Tiffany) as a therapeutic tool to explore life's challenges.