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Black Angel

Black Angel
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Michael Cristofer
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 67
Pub. Date: 1984
ISBN-10: 0822201240
ISBN-13: 9780822201243

About the Play:

Black Angel is a full-length drama by Michael Cristofer. Based on a true story, this powerful and provocative study of a former Nazi officer who, upon being released from prison, cannot accept the exoneration the authorities have granted him. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Black Angel is about Martin Engel, a former SS officer accused of overseeing the massacre of 247 Jews in a French village during World War II. With the war and imprisonment far behind him, Engel has come to that very town following his release from prison, hoping to build a house among the woods and live out his days in peace and solitude. Although the war crimes authorities are satisfied that Engel has paid his debt to society, the local townspeople are not of the same mind, and Engel's presence becomes a growing irritant. Through his conversations with the mayor, his only friend in the village, we learn that Engel is a thoughtful and intelligent man who served his country out of duty rather than desire, and who gave orders to keep peace among the villagers, not to slaughter them. But the massacre did happen, and Engel cannot absolve himself from guilt by association. In the play's chilling climax, he offers no resistance as the townspeople close in for his execution – raising questions not only of guilt and expiation, but also whether such punishment, with its disquieting reflection of the cancerous hatred unleashed by the Nazis, might not hurt the hangmen as well as the victim.

Black Angel premiered in 1978 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and was presented off-Broadway in 1982 by New York's noted Circle Repertory Company. It is an ideal choice for high school drama contests and festivals.

Cast: 1 woman, 10 men

What people say:

"Black Angel is a searching and at times a searing work. It considers not merely the nature of guilt but the nature of revenge – and the guilt that may lurk beneath the surface of revenge." — The Christian Science Monitor

"…a play about a man wrestling with his conscience…." — New York Daily New

"…argues that postwar society dwells in a glass house and shouldn't cast stones." — Variety

"Actors love Cristofer's plays, and not without reason." — Village Voice

About the Playwright:

Michael Cristofer is an American actor, director and writer well known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Shadow Box. He attended Catholic University in Washington, DC and American University in Lebanon. He has written screenplays for Witches of Eastwick and Bonfire of the Vanities.

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