|Andrew Uhlenhopp and Drew Hirschboek in Beets.|
Read and Rant Productions
My mother grew up in what is now Slovakia, and she used to tell a story about one of the Russian prisoners who'd been sent to work on her family's farm during World War I, when she was still a little girl. It seemed their bull had escaped, and when she wandered unsuspecting into the field, it charged her. She remembered running for her life, desperate because she knew there was no way to outrun the huge, raging creature -- and then the sounds behind her stopped. She turned and saw that the prisoner had leapt in front of the bull at great risk to his own life, caught the animal by the horns and turned its head, at which point the bull simply walked away. Yes, she assured me, taking the bull by the horns is not just a metaphor -- though it requires intense strength, both mental and physical. What my mother wanted to convey to me was her overwhelming gratitude, mixed with her bewildered understanding that the man who had saved her life was universally despised as the enemy.
Beets, a thoughtful, historical play by local writer Rick Padden, is set in Berthoud, Colorado, during World War II, when German prisoners were sent to this country and many ended up working in American fields. Although nothing in it exactly parallels my mother's story, you learn a lot from the script about prisoners of war and the mixed feelings of the local people who deal with them. And there is one eerie similarity to my mother's experience.More »
See also: Hat's Off to The Motherfucker With the Hat