Through the barbarism of warfare, mankind has discovered great mysteries of the elements and created weapons of sinful purpose as well as methods of fantastic advancement and healing. It is if that we as a collective need the acidity of conflict to bring out the best from the worse to evolve as a species. It is this twisted curse that is one of the themes of Bill Sterritt’s The Missile Man of Peenemunde.
The play is set in Germany, 1942. The Nazis funded a project to develop ballistic missiles to be used as a wonder weapon. Top scientist Wernher von Braun (a convincing Gregory G. Giles) is the creative genius whose input is fundamental to its success. His inspiration is derived from the beautiful Girl in The Moon (a charismatic Lillian Solange Beaudoin) who is a figment of his imagination. Or is she? Von Braun must solve the riddle of physics and his conscience, offered by Dr. Bahr (stalwart Thomas Ehas), and fend off any delusions of grandeur presented by an enigmatic colleague (an engaging Jonathan Carter Schall). All it takes is a simple click of a switch to carry the world into a new age. But at what cost?
The production is most eclectic as the audience is seated in what resembles a cabaret style (which would also serve nicely for Burly Q Moon, that was segued after Missile Man, an ensemble of WWII cast offs, waiting for the evitable war’s end by a mushroom cloud).
An ingenious use of a model rocket is prominent on the stage. The script has the cadence of the verbiage used at the time, which the actors seemed to relish.
The Missile Man of Peenemunde and Burly Q Moon are playing at Studio/Stage located at 520 N. Western Ave. in Hollywood through Oct. 23. For ticket information, visit (323) 463-3900 or www.studio-stage.com.