"It educated the world", Sherman explains.Read more...
"It educated the world", Sherman explains. "People knew about how the Third Reich treated Jews and, to some extent, gypsies and political prisoners. But very little had come out about their treatment of homosexuals".
Gays were arrested and interned at work camps prior to the genocide of Jews, gypsies, and handicapped, and continued to be imprisoned even after the fall of the Third Reich and liberation of the camps. The play "Bent" highlights the reason why -- a largely ignored German law, Paragraph 175, making homosexuality a criminal offense, which Hitler reactivated and strengthened during his rise to power.
Critics' reactions to the play ranged from exuberant to, in Sherman's words, "appalled, shocked frightened. A few of them were gay, but they didn't want to see this kind of thing on stage". Audiences, on the other hand, would regularly respond with, at first, stunned silence. But then, "would rise and scream and yell and it was pandemonium".
In 1980, the play was produced on Broadway to equal acclaim, starring Richard Gere. It has continued to be produced in every sort of venue: major theatres, regional theatres, universities, even high schools. And in at least 38 countries.
"Bent" has not only been one of the great plays of our time, but one of the most socially monumental. It is sure to continue to move and change people for generations to come.