A History of World War II: The D-Day Invasion to the Fall of Berlin

A History of World War II: The D-Day Invasion To The Fall Of Berlin. Written & Performed by John Fisher / Directed by Jerry Metzker and John Fisher. A Marsh SF Production, 1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. (415) 282-3055 or www.themarsh.org.

November 8 – December15, 2018. (8:00pm Thursdays, 8:30pm Saturdays. No show Thanksgiving)

New dates: December 22, 2018 – February 2, 2019

John Fisher is a true auteur who gained fame in 1994 for his Medea: The Musical that ran for 15 months in San Francisco and almost made it to Broadway.  Most of his work is gay themed “often with a historically based plot mixing often mixing elements of comedy and farce.” So it is with his solo venture A History of World War II: The D-Day Invasion To The Fall Of Berlin that was a huge success Off-Broadway in 2017.

There are two facts that combined to start this information packed solo journey.  First, when he was age 8 he saw the World War II movie “Where Eagles Dare” and he with his four year older brother became hooked on war films and war games. Second, there was a red wood grove behind his house where the games could be played. He used the word “hot” as in sexually hot to describe the physical attraction of Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton. Also the black uniforms with red piping and metal emblems of the German officers were “hot” even though there is disapproval of their actions.

Thus is the start of 70 minute whirlwind monolog with the extended title.  He takes the facts of history describing his reaction to the physicality of the actual participants and their depiction in film and books. Taking written notes was extremely difficult leading to sitting back absorbing the fascinating facts, appreciating the humor and innuendo, and being amazed at the stamina of Fisher.

Fisher seems to keep his factual war forays in chronological order but there is no hint that the movies had any order in their presentation. “After When Eagles Dare” there are references to: “A Bridge too Far”- 1977- Sean Connery, Ryan O’Neal, Michael Caine; “The Longest Day”- 1962- John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton; “Is Paris Burning?”- 1960- Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charles Boyer; “The Bridge at Remagen” – 1969- George Segal, Robert Vaughn, Ben Gazzara; “Patton”- 1970- George C. Scott, Karl Malden.

Taking a paragraph from the PR material will fill in some of gaps in this review:  Offering a compendium of facts about WWII from the bungled plot to assassinate Hitler (“A mess! Organized by a bunch of loser bureaucrats!”) to the big secret – how the Russians won the war for us (“They did all the work!”), this lauded production also surveys the best books on the topic, as well as the most attractive generals who fought the battles and the hottest actors who played them in the movies.

John Fisher again demonstrates his versatility as writer, actor and director recreating his award-winning role that has a relatively short run but, hopefully, will  be extended to allow a larger audience to appreciate some top-notch solo theater.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldim2.com.