Harry S. Truman and Albert Einstein never met – but what if they had? Would the United States still have dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima? An imaginative new play, by Claire Zaslove, explores this question.
The Realm of Whispering Ghosts: If Truman Met Einstein reunites two characters in bardo (the Buddhist afterlife): a young Japanese woman who died in Hiroshima, and the American soldier she had met while he was a prisoner of war. Together they set out to change the course of history, and meet not only President Truman and Professor Einstein, but also General George Marshall, Secretary of State James Byrnes, and the Cabinet that advised the Emperor of Japan.
The original production, directed by Arne Zaslove a The Bathhouse Theater in Seattle, Washington, employed Noh masks and costumes inspired by the clothing worn by actual victims of the Hiroshima bombing. “I’ve been involved in the development of this play over several years now,” says Zaslove, “and it evoked a powerful response in the audiences.”