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Tags: rocket scientist
The seven-character play is set in 1957 during America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union. A German Jew born in Berlin is working as a rocket scientist for the US government. When he meets his new boss, he feels strongly that he was the one who set fire to his family home in Berlin.
The time is 1957. The place is Huntsville, Alabama—home of the Marshall Space Flight Center where scientists have been working on the Redstone rocket program, to be used for the first nuclear ballistic missile test. The male characters are research scientists but the science is not pure. The play is set in 1957 during America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union. David Marguilies, a German Jew born in Berlin, is interviewed for a position as a rocket scientist for the U.S. government. When he meets his new boss, Josef Schell, he feels strongly that Schell was the one who set fire to his family home in Berlin. David has a problem: can he continue with a job that means so much to him, which includes working on putting a man into space and eventually a rocket to the moon—or is his hate so unrelenting that he must leave? When the play begins, Schell is already running America’s rocket program; developing the ICBM; the intercontinental ballistic missile program. The seeds of suspicion are planted not only in David’s mind but also in the mind of Josef Schell.
Deals with the aftermath of the Holocaust in America through the story of the former Nazi scientist Wernher Von Braun being brought to Hunstville, Alabama by the American military to oversee the conversion of a rocket/missile program that was formerly used against the allies but now would be developed to benefit America’s defense against Communist nuclear threat. Featuring songs from the American South that at that time was still highly segregated, the play juxtaposes the need to integrate former Nazis into Hunstville’s community, including its Jewish citizens, while the South still failed to provide equality to its African American people.