In the Upstairs Theater
December 10 - January 7 (Previews December 8 - 9)
San Francisco’s longest-running queer theatre presents Martin Sherman’s modern classic of love in a dangerous time, Bent, directed by John Fisher. Set in Nazi Germany, Bent centers on Max, a party-boy who learns to love against all odds.
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Photographs by David Wilson. Click for a high-resolution, uncropped version.
* indicates performer is a member of Actors' Equity
Kevin Clarke and Clayton B. Hodges*
Clayton B. Hodges* and Enrique Vallejo
Michael Vega, Clayton B. Hodges*, and Enrique Vallejo
Matt Weimer, Clayton B. Hodges*, and Enrique Vallejo
Standing: Paul Dana, Damian Lanahan-Kalish
Seated: Clayton B. Hodges*
Dead: Enrique Vallejo
Kevin Clarke and Clayton B. Hodges*
Clayton B. Hodges*, Enrique Vallejo, and Michael Vega
This production of Bent is dedicated to the memory of Pierre Seel, who was persecuted by the Nazis as a homosexual during the German occupation of France, 1940-1945. Pierre Seel died on November 25, 2005. He was inspired to write his life story, I Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual, by an article he read about Bent in the early 1980's. He also figures as one of the men interviewed in the documentary Paragraph 175.
Pierre Seel, Outspoken Gay Concentration Camp Survivor, Dies in France at Age 82, by Gerard Koshovich
The Memorial de la Deportation Homosexuelle, the French national group that commemorates the homosexual victims of the Nazis, has announced the death of Pierre Seel on November 25 at age 82 in Toulouse, France. Mr. Seel was noted as the most outspoken of the gay survivors of Nazi Persecution. Of some 200 homosexual men sent to the concentration camps, he was the only one to recount his experience publicly.
Mr. Seel was recognized internationally for his book, I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror, released in French in 1994 and subsequently published in English, German, and Spanish, and for his deeply moving testimony in the documentary Paragraph 175, directed by award-winning San Francisco film makers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Mr. Seel had worked closely with the Memorial de la Deportation Homosexuelle since it was founded in 1989.
In 1941, at the age of 17, Mr. Seel was seized by the Nazis in his boyhood hometown of Mulhouse in Alsace because his name appeared on a list of suspected homosexuals compiled by the local French police; the Nazis had invaded Alsace and annexed the territory in 1940, declaring it to be part of Germany and imposing Paragraph 175, the German law forbidding male homosexual behavior.
Mr. Seel was violently tortured by the SS, then sent to the Schirmeck-Vorbrueck concentration camp. During his internment, he was forced to witness the murder of this 18-year-old partner, who was torn to shred by dogs on the order of the camp authorities. After six months of severe privation and brutality, Mr. Seel was released, only to be drafted into the German army and sent to the Russian Front.
Following the Second World War, Mr. Seel returned to France. As with many homosexuals at the time, he married and founded a family. For nearly four decades, he remained painfully silent about his suffering at the hands of the Nazi's anti-homosexual policies.
Historians estimate that the Nazi regime sent a total of 5,000 to 15,000 men from Germany and the annexed territories to concentration camps specifically on charges of homosexuality; the majority of those men perished before the liberation of the camps in 1945. With the death of Mr. Seel, only a handful of homosexual former internees are known to be alive anywhere in the world.
Mr. Seel is survived by his partner, Eric Feliu, of Toulouse; by his wife, from whom he had been separated since 1978; and by two sons and a daughter. After funeral services, he was buried November 28 in the cemetery of Bram in the department of Aude in France. The Memorial de la Deportation Homosexuelle is currently making plans for public commemorations to be held in Paris and Toulouse in early 2006.