Western Albemarle High School addresses dark history in beloved play, "The Sound of Music"

ALBEMARLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Western Albemarle High School will formally premiere their play, "The Sound of Music," Friday, and the school did not shy away from representing the true historical context of the play's setting, even after Albemarle County Schools put a ban on "hate imagery."

"The Sound of Music," tells the story of the von Trapp family leaving their home in Austria to escape from Nazis at the beginning of World War II. Swastikas are in the play as they are in the original Broadway production and movie to fully represent the time period, but they are not used lightly. Drama director, Caitlin Pitts said the story of Nazis in the play could not be avoided or ignored.

"We feel like it's really important to be truthful about the past and the history," said Pitts. "And that there are parts of our history that it's appropriate that they make us very uncomfortable, and that this was one of them."

Pitts had a history teacher educate everyone in the play about World War II, Nazis, and the real von Trapp family to help them understand the full gravity of the historical context of the play. Evelyn Garey, who stars as "Maria," says being a main character in the play has taught her a lot.

"I've learned a lot, not just about the history but about putting historical context into a play and how to understand what happened in the past, but respect the future and respect everyone," said Garey.

Garey said they keep the Nazi flag and armbands used in costume locked away until the necessary scenes of the play.

"We've made sure to keep, especially some Nazi regalia, outside of all pictures, all opportunities like that," said Garey. "They're only used very limitedly on the stage."

Thursday night people can donate money to watch a dress rehearsal of the play, and it will all benefit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

"Art has the power to heal and remember the past, but also bring us together to talk about things that are difficult and to make changes for the future," said Garey.

Thursday night's benefit play will start at 7 p.m. The formal shows will be on Friday at 7 p.m., on Saturday at 2 p.m., and the final show is Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be bought online at the link in the Related Links box.



 
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