Taking Sides
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Norbert had the role of Helmuth Rode in Taking Sides -- a play by British playwright Ronald Harwood. This play is based on true events during the post-war U.S. denazification investigation of the German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwängler -- an important cultural figure who was brought up on charges of having served the Nazi regime. Furtwängler was charged with supporting Nazism by remaining in Germany and performing at Nazi party functions. A lot of this is developed through the use of a detailed diary kept by Furtwängler during his interrogation sessions. The interrogation resulted in formal charges being brought against Furtwängler, however, he was eventually cleared by the tribunal.
Survival was key with every member of the orchestra who was questioned as part of this investigation. Helmuth Rode is brought in for questioning as well. He was a member of the orchestra, playing second violin. All of the orchestra members who were interviewed denied being members of the Nazi party, yet records indicate that there were party numbers associated with some orchestral members. In these scenes, Helmuth Rode is being questioned by Major Steve Arnold about his participation in the Nazi Party. Norbert described Helmuth: “...he’s kind of a rat.... clever.... tortured and wired for survival ‘no matter what....’ there’s also a tragedy wrapped inside of his experience.... a fun character to play.”
These images show Ed Harris as Major Steve Arnold and Norbert Weisser as Helmuth Rode.
Again, my most sincere thanks to Mr. Weisser for providing many of these images for the theater section of the website, and also for his time in giving some insight to the character of Helmuth Rode. The script is available online, but input from the man who brought him to life adds a much greater understanding of the character.
Other cast members include: Elizabeth Marvel as Emmi Straube Michael Stuhlburg as Lt. David Wills Daniel Massey as Wilhelm Furtwangler (Daniel Massey is the son of veteran actor Raymond Massey.)
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