Review: The White Rose by Acme Theater Company

The White Rose

This is no time for proposals.

This is no time for proposals.

Photo courtesy of Acme Theater Company

Showtimes: Thu 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm, Sun 4pm. Through 1/21; $10-$12; Pamela Trokanski Dance Theater, 2720 Del Rio Place in Davis; (530) 401-6688;
Rated 4.0

In its 37-year history, Davis’ Acme Theater Company has not shied away from difficult subjects. From terrorism to transgender issues to abortion, Acme, a self-sustaining theater group for high-school artists, has chosen intelligent and thought-producing content.

The White Rose follows this tradition, tackling the subject of Nazism and the consequence of protest. In these controversial political times, it becomes more timely than when it was written by Lillian Garrett-Groag in 1991.

The White Rose was an organization of students founded in Munich with the goal of exposing Nazi crimes. In 1943, five students were arrested for distributing treasonous material. The play covers the arrest and interrogation of the students, mixed with flashbacks to the formation of the group, its growing passion and increasing boldness in the name of nationalism.

Director Emily Henderson asks questions such as: “What does it mean to be immersed in historical injustice and current inhumanity, to come of age under the reign of a delusional leader? How do personal faith, truth and honor operate when law and morality are in direct conflict? How do you proceed if your country becomes unrecognizable?”

With a cast of only eight people, Acme has been able to gather the best of its actors to bring this story to light. Outstanding are Eleanor Richter as student activist Sophie Scholl and Gracelyn Watkins as Robert Mohr, the investigator who spends days trying to get her to confess.

Grey Turner is also mesmerizing as Anton Mahler, the Nazi intent on punishing the students in the extreme.