Judgment at Nuremberg My experience by Jacob Shoop

The Spatial Experience

As I entered the auditorium, I was extremely impressed with the size and grandeur of the room. There were many seats all filled with people ready to watch the play, and an upper level that I had never seen before except in some of the largest of auditoriums, which surprised me. I chose to sit toward the back of the auditorium, as I had heard before that the actors on stage act for the people seated in the back of the theatre. I think this was a good decision, because the exaggerated hand motions seemed perfectly normal to me, and the sound from the stage sounded perfectly normal to me. I felt a feeling of excitement as the lights dimmed, as I generally do for every play, and couldn’t wait for the play to start. The place of the play, I feel, added to the experience, and helped to make for a great show.

Standing outside the Philips Center before the play

The Social Experience

I drove over to the play with another friend, and found another friend while waiting in line, so the three of us sat together to watch. We all decided to read the pamphlet and read a bit about each of the actors while the lights were still on before the play, in order to try and understand what was about to take place and go in with a certain amount of background knowledge about the play. I feel that attending the play enhanced my experience, because after the play we were able to discuss what we had just seen and I felt that I saw the play from some slightly different perspectives. Shared experiences are extremely important in the good life, because we can learn so much from one another and better ourselves from what we learn. I learned much about the way I thought and the way my friends thought by watching this play together, and I am very glad I went with people I knew and could talk to after the show.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The setting of the play was in the 1950s in Germany, while the world was recovering from a second devastating World War. The main issue of the play was to sentence those leaders who had been a part of Nazi Germany for their crimes against humanity. I knew a small amount about the trials before watching the play, such as the fact that the U.S. led the trials for the German leaders, but I didn’t know many specifics. The performance didn’t really change my views on the trials, as I was unsure about whether we (the U.S.) did the right thing by leading the trials before watching the play, and I still am not sure after watching. However, I feel that there were some who were trying to do what was right and just, whereas before I thought that maybe our government just used the trials as an excuse to gain a political advantage over other countries. The play always will have a relationship to my life and everyone’s life, as it forced me to question whether what I am doing is the easy thing to do or the right thing to do. After watching, I'm sure that most of the German people during the Holocaust weren't necessarily bad or evil people, but they chose to do what was easy and let those atrocities occur in order to not put themselves at risk. I realized while watching that I must make sure to not fall in the same trap that they did and try to do what is right.

The Emotional Experience

I think Judgment at Nuremburg provided an opportunity for katharsis by forcing those who watched to examine their own lives. In showing the German people, many of whom, the play makes clear, were good, normal people, as involved in the Holocaust, I examined my own life and wondered whether or not I would have made the same choice as they did when the time came. I realized that I couldn’t truly know for sure whether I would just allow the extraordinary injustices of the time to happen until I was put in that situation or a similar situation myself. However, the play did impress upon me the importance of standing for what is right, and the Judge gives a great role model to do just that. He made sure his priority was to give a fair and just ruling, despite pressure from almost all around him to do what they wanted him to do. His commitment to doing the right thing is what makes him the hero, and someone to emulate in my own life.

In the lobby after watching the performance

Works Cited

Markus, Johannes. Judgment at Nuremberg. 2014. DC Metro Theatre Arts. http://dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2014/06/01/magic-time-judgment-nuremberg-american-century-theater/

Kindersley, Dorling. Illustration of an Audience Watching a Play. Getty Images. http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-illustration-illustration-of-an-audience-watching-a/117192335/popup?sq=undefined

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