“‘Cyclist’ play makes particular sense in Chicago”

Mike Hall (left) as Rat and Steve Greist as Abeles. Credit Allison Tenn

Mike Hall (left) as Rat and Steve Greist as Abeles. Credit: Allison Tenn

The Absurdist Holocaust comedy written in Terezin is given enhanced meaning in a city where the winds are against cycling.

Read more of my piece in the Times of Israel. Here’s the lede:

CHICAGO — An actor stands up on a podium and holds a paintbrush stained with black pigment to his nose, approximating Hitler’s moustache.

“My fellow citizens, our country is in crisis. We must rid ourselves of the monstrous perversion that is destroying society. Who is to blame for all our troubles? The Jews!” declares “Hitler,” in the play within a play.

Rather than finding a beer hall packed with yes men, however, “Hitler” is surprised to hear a resounding “And the cyclists!” (bicycle riders) every time he tries to incite violence against the Jews. Finally exasperated — as the script describes him — “Hitler” asks his assailant, “Why the cyclists?” The young man responds unfazed, “Why the Jews?”

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