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Incident at Vichy. Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (January 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822205645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822205647
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,768,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arthur Miller (1915-2005) was born in New York City in 1915 and studied at the University of Michigan. He was awarded the Avery Hopwood Award for Playwrighting at University of Michigan in 1936. He twice won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, received two Emmy awards and three Tony Awards for his plays, as well as a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. He also won an Obie award, a BBC Best Play Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, a Gold Medal for Drama from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library, the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Algur Meadows Award. He received honorary degrees from Oxford University and Harvard University and was awarded the Prix Moliere of the French theatre, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Lifetime Achievement Award and the Pulitzer Prize, as well as numerous other awards. He was named the Jefferson Lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2001. He was awarded the 2002 Prince of Asturias Award for Letters and the 2003 Jerusalem Prize.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this stunning play, set in a holding room Vichy, France, in 1942, Arthur Miller introduces nine men who have been picked up on suspicion that they are Jews or Jewish sympathizers. As they are called, one by one, to be interrogated by Nazi officials before being released or put on the thirty-car freight train waiting at the station, they reveal their thinking, their rationalizations for having been picked up, and their belief that this is all a big mistake. A German major involved in the interrogations also begins to question his own role, reminding his colleague, a professor in charge of carrying out Nazi racial policies, that he is a "line officer," not trained for his role.

Waiting to be questioned are an actor, a waiter, a businessman, a psychoanalyst, a Marxist railroad worker, a gypsy, an ancient Hasid, a fourteen-year-old boy, and an Austrian prince. As they talk and begin to share bits of information, Miller examines the tendency of ordinary men, who are often victims, to become immobilized when faced with "an atrocity...that is inconceivable," to refuse to believe that such behavior can possibly happen in a civilized world. At the same time, he also examines those others, the Nazis and their collaborators in France, who serve an ideology, not mankind, those who subordinate themselves so completely to an abstract concept that they believe "there are no persons anymore."

As the truth about the waiting train and its destination slowly emerges, the sense of dread becomes palpable. The psychoanalyst, trying to rouse people to overpower the single guard on duty, cannot make his fellow captives understand that it is their belief that the world is essentially rational that keeps them from acting, and that the Nazis count on this belief.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "jj_ee_nn" on November 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have never been more inspired by the dialogue in any book I've ever read. I know that everyone fusses about Miller's THE CRUCIBLE and DEATH OF A SALESMAN, but INCIDENT AT VICHY is definitely the best of the three. It is one of those books that makes you really think about what the author is saying. I have an entire list of breathtaking quotes especially from this book. I had to read it in AP English, 12th grade, and was blown away.
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By Sabad One on February 26, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think this is Arthur Miller at his best. Outstanding dialog, poignant themes, unrelenting tension. Acting is superb, and I am once again grateful to LA Theater Works for producing such a marvelous list of theater productions.

In this claustrophobic play nine men find themselves trapped in a room after being picked up during document checks in occupied France, during WWII. What do the Germans want from them? Are all those impossible-to-believe rumors about trains transporting Jews to concentration camps in Poland true? Why do people spread such unbelievable but terrifying rumors about furnaces to burn people in their thousands? One by one the men will enter an adjoining room where a "doctor" and a German officer will examine their papers and maybe something else to separate the "undesirable" from the rest. The ones that remain in the room are left wondering about their and Europe's future, the reasons for their arrest, the truth about the terrible rumors about concentration camps, the role of choice and individual responsibility in front of senseless and systematic cruelty.

A wonderful and poignant play, highly recommended.
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