Post-World War II tensions instigated the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted for much of the second half of the 20th century. These tensions resulted in mutual suspicions, heightened tensions and a series of international incidents that brought the world’s superpowers, and the world, to the brink of disaster.
In August of 1961, the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) started constructing a barbed wire and concrete “Antifascistischer Schutzwall,” between East and West Berlin. The purpose of the Wall was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of stemming mass defections from East to West. The Berlin Wall stood until November 9, 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the East Berlin could cross the border freely. Still today, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War.
Join this panel of experts, several of whom grew up in eastern Europe during this time, as they discuss the impact and social issues relating to the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Reading of a new play by John Feffer
Part of the European Month of Culture
Supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States
Before/After is a multimedia portrait of the transformation of East-Central Europe told by the people who made it happen. Through words, pictures, video, and music, it tells the story of the people who chipped away at the Iron Curtain, tore down the Berlin Wall in 1989, and tried to realize their hopes and dreams in the decades that followed. Drawn from interviews with people from the region, the reading will be performed by 12 actors. It is directed by Natalia Gleason.
Performers: Ashley Amidon, Michael Crowley, Judit Csonka, Karen Elle, John Feffer, Stuart Fischer, Mario Font, Tony Hacsi, Don Hensley, Joseph Mariano, Matt Neufeld, Karin Rosnizeck, Scott Sedar, Carol Spring
Feature in video: Gordon Adams, Zach Brewster-Geisz, Sean Coe, Sandy Irving, Doug Krehbel, Emily Morrison, Gabriela Pohl, Michael Sigler, Vanessa Terzaghi