PLAYING LENI by David Robson & John Stanton


A fictionalized account of the capture and arrest of Leni Riefenstahl, filmmaker and propagandist for the Third Reich during World War II. Her captor, an unnamed Allied soldier, must transport Riefenstahl to a detention center. Riefenstahl, however, believes this “trip through the countryside” is the perfect opportunity to create her cinematic masterwork. Writing, rewriting, and editing her story as they travel, Riefenstahl comes face to face with the inescapable truths of war, privation, and the 20th century’s greatest crime.




SOLDIER: Early 30’s



First Production: Madhouse Theater, Adrienne Theatre, Philadelphia, PA 2011
Hotel Obligado Audience Choice Award for New Work, Spark Showcase, Philadelphia, PA 2010
Best Original Script Nomination, Phindie, 2011


“Tightly written, sometimes tense, and generally commanding work… It sure is good theater.”

–Philadelphia Inquirer


“Remarkably even-handed; the audience feels both contempt and sympathy for Leni, and recognizes that we could all be like her, depending on the circumstances. The play raises ethical issues without being preachy, allowing each of us to decide for ourselves if Riefenstahl was complicit or unknowing, a chameleon who could adapt to any situation, or a survivor who made the movies because she had no choice. And it manages all the while to be very, very funny. The verdict is still out on Leni Riefenstahl, but it’s a resounding victory for Playing Leni.”

the Artblog


“Playing Leni encourages the audience to discover not only some of the inner workings of a Third Reich mind, but also our own.”

Broad Street Review


“Packed with emotion, this story is vividly told.”

–Stage Reviews


Playing Leni is spellbinding…[Riefenstahl] never joined the Nazi party and claimed she was forced to make those films. PLAYING LENI mines this ambiguity superbly. A brisk 70 minutes, it’s an entertaining comedy.”

–Stage Magazine


“If you plan to see only one comedy about a Nazi director this year, it should probably be this.”

–Philadelphia City Paper


“Clever, well-written, and thought-provoking…it humorously raises serious questions about personal ethics, opportunism, self-preservation, and the accident of birth.”

–the Artblog



Preview available here

Additional information

Cast Size


, ,

Script Author


Script Type


, , ,