|Then she rehearsed a scene from the first game. A packed train pulls into Camp Belica, and as the prisoners are herded into the camp, one person hands Frau Engel a crying infant, expecting her to help the child. Instead, Frau Engel is repulsed, and beats the prisoner for having the gall to hand the wailing infant to her. “That was the key scene,” Franoszek says. “How could I possibly do that?”
Franoszek was prepared, though. She knew how to play a Nazi commander. She knew how to play psychopath, a narcissist, a sadist. She knew that urgent need to quiet the noise around her, much like a person who tosses a ringing alarm clock against a wall. So she committed to the performance during a rehearsal – and it just clicked.
“I did it, and I felt like a god,” she says. “If you do something so evil and no one punishes you, it gives you a power rush, a high. This is what Frau Engel’s running on. I can do the most weird, shitty things to everybody, and I’m getting off because nothing happens. Nothing can get me. And that was the key.”
Love Thy EnemyOf course, Frau Engel’s feeling of omnipotence was shattered by BJ in the first game… but that only made Frau stronger. And, more important, it only made her connection with BJ even stronger.
“BJ is her enemy, but in a way he’s her new lover,” Franoszek says. “She needs a good partner because if you kill without any resistance, it’s just like killing cockroaches. It’s not too much fun because they’re weak. She also needs a very strong partner so the chase will never stop. Because if Frau Engel isn’t chasing BJ, then she might be alone with herself and her feelings – and she can’t have that.”