2, Eclipse Theatre Company, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Eclipse concludes its season-long salute to Romulus Linney with his study of Hermann Goring during the Nuremberg trials, a difficult piece anchored by Steven Fedoruk’s performance as Hitler’s unapologetic number two man. Walking with a swaybacked swagger (equally reflecting the Nazi commandant’s arrogance and his former 300-pound physique), Fedoruk is simultaneously charming, insidious, reptilian–and capable of making sharp points about the hypocrisy, blindness, and racism of his American captors. There’s an undeniable kick to some of Goring’s now prophetic lines, such as “Western democracy is not for everyone. I don’t think it ever will be.”
Nathaniel Swift’s direction is heavy-handed and turgid at times, as the actors indulge in pregnant pauses and take declamatory stances, making some of Linney’s rhetoric even less convincing. But Thomas Jones as the Jewish-American shrink assigned to Goring delivers an understated, wholly effective performance–and there’s no doubt about his character’s professional commitment or hatred of Goring. In a courtroom sequence in which Goring watches films from the death camps, their projection on the back wall of Kevin Scott’s stark cutaway set is almost too disturbing–it might have been better to focus on Goring’s impassive reaction. After all, today most of us are sadly familiar with portraits of atrocity, but the crux of the play is Goring’s refusal to see the Nazi horrors for what they were.