Meet the Cast and Crew, #4: Al Cowger

I have two connections with this production of The Sparks Fly Upward.

Willie Stein / Chorus

First, every time I hear a story about the Holocaust, I immediately think of the two grandmothers of one of my college roommates. Both were tattooed with the infamous Auschwitz identification numbers. These were two of the kindest, most gentle people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. The fact they bore these marks will always sicken me and remind me that humans can do horrible things to fellow humans for no good reason. They will also remind me that one can be gentle but still have had the fortitude to survive the horrors of Auschwitz.

Second, as a gay man with a husband of 36 years and a 16 year old daughter whom we have had since birth, every rehearsal of this show reminds me that a supposedly civilized country can turn on its citizens, deny them their civil rights, and destroy their families. We as citizens need to be constantly reminded that this can happen anywhere and at any time, and how this can happen when fellow citizens ignore or condone the hateful actions of those in charge. Given the political climate in the US, it is quite possible that history is about to repeat itself here, and my family could soon be ruled illegal and torn asunder by authorities. By participating in the presentation of this story, I feel I am doing my part to maybe prevent a new Holocaust in our own back yard by reminding others of this.