Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Forgiving the Unforgivable: a Review of The Hiding Place

Provision Theater made me cry.  Twice.  Jerks.

The Hiding Place, a play based on the book by Corrie ten Boom, tells the true and compelling story of the ten Boom family and their costly work with the underground resistance to hide and protect Jews during the Nazi occupation of Holland during WWII.  My family and one other decided that there was no better way to celebrate Mothers' Day than by watching a play about Nazis and concentration camps.

We ignored the the warning on the company's website suggesting that the material might be too difficult for children under 10.  One of our under-tenners seemed to handle it just fine; but M. Peevie cowered in my arms with my hands over her eyes and ears for much of the play.  "Are there going to be real gunshots?" she asked, remembering the loud and scary moments from The Three Musketeers.

"No," I accidentally lied.  But there were.  And there was hitting and brutality and other mean stuff that when you see it on stage, with real people, can feel more scary and painful than when you see it on the big blue screen.

"If the Nazis had a report card for niceness, they would get all F's!" M. Peevie declared after the show.

But the story is, of course, ultimately redemptive.  The ten Booms risk everything to help Jewish families -- some friends, some strangers -- escape during the War -- and Corrie's father and sister Betsie paid the ultimate price.  "Hold everything in your hands lightly," Corrie said in her later writings, "otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."

I cried twice during the show: first, when Betsie died in Ravensbruck, and again when Corrie forgave the Dutch informant who facilitated her family's arrest. She wrote this about this forgiveness

Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him....Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness....And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.

Adapted and directed by Tim Gregory, the play is sometimes hard to watch because of the subject matter, but definitely worth it.  Lia Mortenson as Corrie strikes believable notes as a believer who sometimes doubts and often struggles to understand God's purposes and the teachings of her faith.  It's a big cast, and the other actors do a great job as well--except for the allegedly German-accented English was distracting and mixed up with some Russian and Eastern European accents. 

The Hiding Place is playing at Provision Theater through May 23.

1 comment:

Anna D. said...

Oh man. One of my top 5 favorite books. Seeing it on stage would definitely make me weep, too.