Justice from a New Perspective: Judgement at Nuremberg Crafted by Kendra Ragen

The Judgement at Nuremberg was a experience that expanded my social, intellectual, cultural, and emotional aspects. It was enhanced through the physical staging and environment through professionally crafted techniques such as sound effects, ambiance of the theater, structure of the lobby, and lighting. The play was able to convey various views about those involved in the Nuremberg trials following World War Two. Many people were wanting to seek justice for the charges against humanity. This conflict, although seemingly a touchy subject, was displayed through a visual art form and sufficiently conveyed to the audience.

The Physical Setting of the Theater

The physical setting of the theater was spacious and built apt for viewing. Outside the theater, in the lobby, there were illuminated lights, plants, and tile floor. Also, there were posters and boards advertising other plays that were coming up. It was very welcoming and made viewers excited to watch a play as it gave information about some of the groups that were showcased there. Inside, I sat towards the back of the seats; this allowed my overall view of the stage to be expanded and I could watch all the act. When the lights dimmed and the audiences quieted, I felt as if I transposed into another setting where I was watching an event happen. Even though I was not interacting directly with the characters, the fact that they were on stage and communicating with each other peaked my interest. The lighting set on the characters and the action of the play; everything else that was not relevant to the story was dimmed; this had the effect of catching my attention and focusing on the content of the stage. The size of the auditorium enhanced my experience because it is able to fit many observers while it still being a very personalized experience. Also, it is slanted in order to create an adequate viewing spot for everyone. Place is important in the Good Life because the setting one is in can create these different auras. For example, if the auditorium was poorly designed and if it was the same show, then it could possibly create a feeling of being cramped; it would not be an adequate way to convey a message because people would feel disconcerted by the physical set up. However, the cool, dark, and spacious room allowed for observers to feel calm and ready to observe the act in front of them. The environment can heavily influence one’s emotions; for instance, one would be less likely to feel lonely and depressed in an area with many friendly people, activities, and sunshine versus an isolated, dark, concrete room. The environment at the theater was apt for catching viewers' attention and conveying a message through a visual art form.

Artfully crafted design of the lobby
Artificial plants contributed to the ambiance of the lobby

The Social Experience

Attending the performance with friends and strangers created mixed experiences. My friend and I attended the play together and we were able to discuss the design of the theater, talk about the play during intermission and afterward, and sit next to each other. This allowed me to share and expand my ideas and emotions about the play. As for strangers, I felt that even though I did not know the majority of the observers there, we still had a shared experience. Because we all watched the same play, I feel as if other people had the same opportunity and presumably the same emotions triggered as me after the experience. Overall, it developed a sense of community and togetherness even though every person individually was listening to the play and creating judgments about it for him or herself. Shared experiences in the Good Life are important for this creation of community and generation of opportunities off which to relate to one another. Nationalism is based on this; those who are from the same community or nation tend to think of other members as a team because of the commonality. This occurs every day; shared experiences provide this sense of togetherness and ideas of empathy.

My friend and I attending the play together

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The performance helped me develop a new way of seeing and understanding our own culture because it surfaces characters that have multiple and variant perspectives interacting with one another; my view previously may have been fitting to a character in the play, such as upholding the totalitarian ideology that all Germans were at fault for the charges against humanity in World War Two. However, once I heard the stories of others, it was challenged and changed. The play was set in Germany after World War Two and it involved the trial of Nazi leaders after their contributions towards the victimization of millions during the war. The judge was to listen to many perspectives of those during the war: German citizens, the wife of a Nazi leader, and victims of World War Two German government brutality. Before the play, I had a cache of knowledge regarding the terrors placed upon many victims in the war including Jewish people, disabled, gypsies, and gays; however, I had very limited knowledge about the trials following the war placed on Nazis. The performance made me think about this event triggered by the resolving of the war; the trials placed on the Nazis created much controversy between people which was mostly dependent on how the war affected an individual. For example, the wife of the Nazi soldier was adamant that her husband was against the brutality and did not deserve his punishment; however, the man that was sterilized thought that his experience with the Nazis were undeserving and inhumane. The subject matter has a relation to something in my own life because being a student and attaining a career has multiple perspectives and views. Many students dwell on academics to impress employers, parents, or even themselves; they want to optimize their abilities and see how well they can do; it is viewed as a challenge to do the best. Other students do not prioritize having the best grades but may still have the same issue of wanting to get a good career; instead, they may focus more on gaining experiences in the work world through internships, co-ops, or networking. Either way, the ultimate goal on paper is “finding a job or career”; however, there are many different or hybridized approaches to this depending on the individual. Similarly, in the play, there was the common issue of finding justice; this tactic varied upon each character's perspective of the war and how it affected him or her.

Outside the Theater

The Emotional Experience

Judgement at Nuremberg provides catharsis because it involves a topic that was the result of millions of deaths and inhumanity during war. Many people wanted justice to be served for the German regime that called for the deaths of innocent civilians deemed inept for the community based off on their race, religion, health, age, and more. Therefore, the play involved a subject that would normally generate anger, contempt, regret, and hatred towards Nazis and Hitler administration. The play was able to show how the Nuremberg trials affected many people involved during the war: those related to the soldiers, those who were taken by the government, and those who were seemingly impartial German citizens such as the maid. All of them talked about their emotions after the war and how the loss of loved ones affected them. The play brings up these topics in a way that illustrates how multiple people view the situation; it is able to “come clean” or share these ideas in a way that does not offend audience members but rather allows them to hear the characters’ stances. Because the audience members are only watching the play, they are able to listen to how real people represented as characters in the play would have released their dwellings and emotions towards the subject. This achievement of moral cleanliness and liberation from stress and anxiety promotes the Good Life because one must talk about his or her feelings towards an issue in order to eventually get past it instead of holding onto it perpetually.

Pictures taken personally: Works Cited Below

Ragen, Kendra. Judgement at Nuremberg Theater Collage. 2016.

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