Best Actor in a Drama - 2004
William Hahn, Bent, Hunger Artists Ensemble Theatre
Last spring, William Hahn played Max in Martin Sherman's Bent, a harrowing drama that revealed the plight of homosexuals in Hitler's extermination camps. At the play's opening, Max lived for booze, cocaine and easy sex. By the second act, his lover had been beaten to death in front of him, and he was in Dachau. He began a friendship with another prisoner and, despite their circumstances, the relationship deepened. The men joked and argued; they even found a way to make love without touching. The play could be seen as an affirmation of the power of love, but that's not really how Hahn played it. He gave evil its due with a characterization that was both caustic and soul-deep, and the result was shattering.