Youngstown State University Theatre will be opening its season with the premier of “Tribunal,” a drama based on the Nuremburg Trials and set shortly after World War II.
A new addition to the production is Tracy Vito, a director who has worked with various cruise lines, professional theatre productions and television networks such as Nickelodeon. Vivo also directs productions for Youngstown City Schools.
“I went to YSU so my roots are here,” she said. “I would love to direct another play
Matt Malloy, a senior at YSU, said that Tribunal has never been performed on a stage anywhere else.
“We are the original cast and everything,” Malloy said. “It’s really cool to be a part of a production like this. It has had a read through on a stage before, but it has never been formally produced.”
In “Tribunal,” the play follows the relationship between Hannelore Schneider, a national socialist, and Arthur “Izzy” Borovitz, a translator for the Nuremburg Trials who also happens to be a Holocaust survivor. Throughout the play, the two characters learn to overcome their differences and open their eyes to what happened during the Holocaust.
To prepare for the production, the cast of eight watched various Holocaust and World War II documentaries in order to understand exactly what happened before and after the war.
Vivo said that the subject matter in “Tribunal” could be very heavy at times.
“There were times when we tried to keep it light during rehearsal,” she said. “Their research really paid off, and you can see that in their characters. I am really proud of them
Junior Natalie Martzial said that the cast was very emotional during the first table read before they began to stage the play.
“We were all crying,” Martzial said. “It’s scary because it really opens our eyes to what happened during the Holocaust. The whole play is very descriptive and can really bring out a lot of emotions.”
Malloy said that the play is really an eye-opener to anyone who doesn’t know too much about what happened in Nazi Germany during WWII.
“People say it never happened, and I think that’s crazy,” Malloy said. “The descriptions alone really set the mood. In a monologue, there is two minutes of straight screaming in the background while a description of what the gas chambers are like is read.”
The play also has several cast members doubling up on different roles in a way to contradict the characters they play.
Martzial said that the two characters she plays are total opposites of each other. One character is Hannelore’s mother, a national socialist and the other is Sally, a secretary to one of the lieutenants.
“Our director told us that double casting of characters has a direct connection between the actors who play the characters,” Martzial said. “She really gives us a lot of freedom with our characters and lets us kind of do what we want with them.”
The main reason for the play is to educate the audiences about what happened in the Holocaust, World War II and the aftermath of the Holocaust.
Martzial said that “Tribunal” has a message to convey to the audience and helps them realize what happened during the Holocaust by hearing the real-life stories the characters share with the audience.
“It kind of makes you look at yourself and consider your own character and who you are,” she said. “It’s all about being a good person. It makes you think of your family and your own life.”
Vivo said she hopes the audience enjoys “Tribunal” and also can take away something after the play.
“There’s a line that Hannelore says ‘This world could have been a beautiful place’ during the play about the Holocaust,” she said. “It really is a very important subject
“Tribunal” will run Oct. 20-27 at the Spotlight Theatre. Show times for Friday and Saturday are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday performance will be at 2 p.m. General admission tickets will be $10 and YSU students will get in for free.