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Bent


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A: Martin Sherman Pf: 1979, London Pb: 1979 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Berlin, Cologne, a nearby forest, and Dachau concentration camp, 1934–7 C: 14mMax and Rudy, two homosexuals in their thirties, live together in an apartment in Berlin in the early years of the Third Reich. Rudy is a dancer in a nightclub, where Max got drunk the previous evening and brought Wolf, a storm trooper, back to bed with him. This was also the night on which Ernst Röhm, protector of homosexuals, was arrested on Hitler's orders. Two Gestapo men come to the apartment and murder Wolf, while Max and Rudy escape. Greta, a transvestite friend, gives them money to get away. Two years later, they are hiding in the forest, while Max tries to get papers and tickets to flee to Holland. They are arrested and taken on a prison transport, where Max is forced to beat Rudy to death and to have sex with a dead girl to prove that he is not ‘queer’ but a Jew (a category that enjoys more privileges than homosexuals). In Dachau concentration camp, Max is helped by a fellow homosexual prisoner Horst. While moving rocks, they are able to converse and even fantasize about having sex together. Max helps Horst with medicine which he gets by offering sexual favours to the guards. Eventually, Horst is shot, and Max puts on Horst's jacket with its pink triangle, finally acknowledging that he is gay. He then deliberately executes himself on the perimeter fence.

A: Martin Sherman Pf: 1979, London Pb: 1979 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Berlin, Cologne, a nearby forest, and Dachau concentration camp, 1934–7 C: 14m

Unlike many of his American contemporaries, Sherman dealt with socio-political issues in historical rather than in metaphorical terms. The influence of Bent was so great that in the 1980s gay activists adopted the pink triangle as an emblem.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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