HEDGEHOG by Frank S Petrilli


In Germany of 1943, the Ministry of Propaganda for the Third Reich produces the most expensive motion picture ever made. It is believed that this epic film of the 1912 sinking of the “Titan Ship” will not only open a propaganda-front against the Allies, help Germany win the war, and confirm Nazi supremacy, but ultimately establish a “Hollywood on the Rhine.” But, the film is plagued with production problems, bombing raids, plus a prickly and temperamental director that the film-crew nicknames “Hedgehog,” who defies and taunts the powers in Berlin. (Inspired by true events)



Walther — Writer – “Herr Author” (40’s/50’s) – Reflective, analytical, even tempered. Walther is very much a chronicler and observer. He is Herbert’s closest friend and gives balance to the friendship.

Gita Spielmann — Director’s Assistant (mid 20’s to mid 30’s) Gita is professional, pleasant, happy, quiet, well-spoken and organized. She speaks with a sense of authority, knows that she is part of history-in- the-making, and yet has a dutiful air about her. She is always optimistic.

Hans – Production Assistant (12-14) Hans is restrained, yet he is eager and excited to be working on a movie, rather than in a factory, a farm or a fishing trawler. He has no filter between brain and mouth. He echoes Gita’s optimism.

Willi — Production Manager – “Herr Manager” (30’s/40’s) Pudgy, innocent, and slightly immature due to his creativity and possible wealthy upbringing. Willi tries to be a friend to all, but exasperates everyone at the same time. He may be “the Fool” of the group, but he is their “Fool” to have and look after

Karl — Cinematographer – “Herr Kameramann” (40’s/50’s) Karl is the wild–card. A rebel at heart, from a prior century; he is as mad as Rasputin and as hypnotic as Svengali. Lean and mean, Karl speaks frankly, is self-centered and very blunt. He could be a psychopath- killer or an arch-criminal if he wasn’t a film-maker. As would a camera, Karl marks time and reality as he sees it through whatever size lens he has on in his mind’s-eye at any given moment.

Fritz — Production Designer – “Herr Konstruktor” (40’s/50’s) A Master Craftsman and Artist. Fritz can see the big picture and the smallest detail. Frank. Honest and forthright, Fritz depends on order and tranquility to express himself, and interpret his surroundings.

Herbert — Director – “Herr Kino Direktor” (40’s) — Former assistant to the German Cinema genius, F.W. Murnau, Herbert fashions himself to be the Germanic answer to the American wunderkind, Orson Welles. Brash, bold, temperamental and single minded; behind his back, Herbert is referred to as “Hedgehog” due to his prickly personality.

Herr Hauptmann — Army Captain (25-35) Not only does he conduct himself as an Officer of the Third Reich, HERR HAUPTMANN also has a strong sense of military and political savvy.

Herr Doktor — Reich Minister of Propaganda (late 30’s’ – 40’s) Small framed. Dark. Rodent-like. He walks with a limp due to a clubbed-foot.




A Concert Reading at STAGE II of the Town Players of New Canaan, Powerhouse Theater, New Canaan, CT – April 14 & 15, 2018 (the 106th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic) A Concert Reading at The Bedford Playhouse/Clive Davis Arts Center, Bedford, NY – November 18, 2018



Approximately 95 minutes – no interval



Preview available here

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