Al Staggs, an actor and Presbyterian minister, will perform “A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” Thursday, Nov. 8, on Hanover College’s campus. The special presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in The Other Place, located in the former Donner Lecture Hall.
A German pastor, Bonhoeffer was co-founder of the Confessing Church and an outspoken anti-Nazi dissident during World War II. He is best known for his Christian writings, including the classic work, “The Cost of Discipleship.”
Bonhoeffer was staunchly defiant of the Nazi Party, its leadership and many of its programs, including the genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested in April, 1943, and spent more than a year in a German prison before being transferred to a concentration camp.
He was executed by hanging April 9, 1945, after being tried for involvement with a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler.
In this moving one-person production, Staggs draws the audience into the prison cell as Bonhoeffer struggles with evil, injustice and God while awaiting execution. The performance sheds light on the prisoner’s outrage against the Nazis and the profound influence of Frank Fisher, an African-American friend and fellow Union Theological student who introduced Bonhoeffer to the blight of racism in America.
Staggs served as a parish minister for more than 20 years before beginning a new career as a performing artist. He has performed “A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” at hundreds of churches and synagogues around the world, including the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He has also performed the work at more than one hundred colleges and seminaries.
“A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” is sponsored by Hanover’s chaplain, theatre department and political science department.