Taking Sides

by Ronald Harwood

Production dates : October 2, 3, 4 & 5 2019

Directed by : Mike Wells

This is my first time as director for Wick Theatre Company, but I have directed a large number of plays, musicals, reviews and even some operas. I am thrilled to be able to work on this play which has strong characters and leaves the audience to make some decisions – they have to ‘take sides’ over a difficult moral issue. Caroline Woodley will be on hand to assist and I am most grateful for her support.

My contact details :

tel : 01903 245441

Auditions : Monday June 3rd – 7.30 pm – Southwick Community Centre, BN42 4TE

To audition, you do not have to be member of the Company. Do let me know if you want to audition but really can’t make that date.

Rehearsal nights : Monday and Thursday and some Sundays preferred, but open to negotiation

Rehearsal period : to be discussed with cast but possibly start mid July.


Act 1 – pdf link

Act 2 – pdf link

Audition pieces

Major Steve Arnold : p13-14 : This is like a criminal investigation to ‘ the baton story’ ( with David) and p60-61 (angry speech to Furtwangler)

Emmi Straube : p-46 : Major can I ask you something.. to top of p 47 with David and Arnold

Lieutenant David Wills : p11-12 with Arnold ; 62 with Arnold

Tamara Sachs : p22-23 (with Arnold and David)

Hemuth Rode : p15-16 to ‘he couldn’t tell Hitler not to attend’

Wilhelm Furtwängler : p28 with David and Arnold and 61-62 with Arnold and Emmi


(Ages are playing ages not actual ages!)

Major Steve Arnold : 35 – early 50s : Big role

A hard-bitten US officer, a former insurance investigator, part of the De-Nazification administration. Indifferent to music and German culture. Unsympathetic to Germans.

Lieutenant David Wills : 20s : On quite a bit

Clean cut US intelligence officer, born in Germany but parents left in 1934. Decent and intelligent.

Tamara Sachs : 30s : One scene. German accent

Widow of a Jewish pianist killed at Auschwitz. Not Jewish herself. Prematurely grey, intense and disturbed.

Emmi Straube : 20s-30s : German accent

Subdued, polite and long suffering in the face of Arnold’s poor manners. Her father opposed Hitler

Hemuth Rode : 40+ but no specific age and could be played older : Has some long speeches. German accent

A violinist who played in the Berlin Philharmonic

Wilhelm Furtwängler : 60s : Big role. Needs authoritative playing

World famous conductor. Highly intellectual and representative of German culture. A wounded giant.
German accent, but as he was a cosmopolitan figure, a lighter touch than the other Germans. No need for a look alike.


TAKING SIDES is a play by Ronald Harwood which was first performed in 1995. It was widely performed in Europe and the USA.

It takes place in the American Zone of occupied Berlin, in 1946. It is here the American portion of the De-Nazification Tribunal take over the questioning of Wilhelm Furtwängler, one of the outstanding conductors of his time. As the terrors of Nazism spread, many of Furtwängler’s colleagues fled the country, but Furtwängler mysteriously chose to stay. Did he stay to do as much good as possible in the face of evil or did he stay to serve Hitler? Little is known of the motives and methods of the Tribunal, which is the focus of TAKING SIDES. What is known is that Furtwängler was humiliated, pursued and, even after his acquittal, disinformation followed him. This may or may not have been justified—it all depends on the side you take. “A brave, wise and deeply moving play delineating the confrontation between culture, and power, between art and politics, between irresponsible freedom and responsible compromise. A gripping moral challenge in a cock sure and self-seeking age.” Sunday Times