Missy and I attended the Sunday afternoon presentation of the play The Man Who Killed The Cure at the Dayton Theatre Guild. It was an entertaining 2-hour showing and we became intrigued about the real story behind the play. While there is plenty of information about the real-life primary character in the play, Dr. Max Gerson, and the Gerson Institute, there isn’t much else to go on.
It appears that after the playwright, Luke Yankee, elected to become a vegetarian, he became interested in Dr. Gerson’s nutritional advice. He then decided to write a play centered around Dr. Gerson’s life. As best I can tell, the writer of the play took broad artistic license with the story versus the real-life history of Dr. Gerson.
In structuring the play, Yankee chose to tell the story of Dr. Gerson through a fictitious colleague, Rudolph Heller – a rival doctor who starts out as Gerson’s friend and is seduced by money and power to discredit and destroy him. In addition, Max Gerson’s wife, Gretchen, was not killed by the Nazis as was depicted in the play. In reality, she moved with Max to the US in the mid-1930s. Max Gerson died of Pneumonia in 1959.
While the play nicely illustrated the tension between an honorable man and his money-hungry friend, it appears that the Yankee decided to also use the play as a propaganda piece about homeopathic medicine and the Gerson diet.