Friday, January 27, 2017

The Regrettable Rise of Arturo Ui: a foretelling

Lately I have been thinking of Bertolt Brecht's 1941 Chicago gangster play, the Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The iconic Berliner Ensemble produced the parable play at Cal during the summer of 1999. It was the company's swansong, their final curtain call before they disbanded forever.

Brecht never staged, nor saw "Arturo Ui" performed. He wrote the allegorical satire while living in exile. It languished in a drawer for decades. Brecht is better known for The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and Her Children and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

Arturo Ui was so riveting, I went back twice to see it. My partner was non-plussed, whereas I had chickenskin—as if it were a foretelling. Alas, the play fits T.rump to a T. The regrettable rise of a gangster where all the world's a stage. And now we are in exile in our own country.

“Therefore learn how to see and not to gape.
To act instead of talking all day long.
The world was almost won by such an ape!
The nations put him where his kind belong.
But don't rejoice too soon at your escape -
The womb he crawled from is still going strong.”

"Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men.
For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again."

Oh, how history repeats itself. The play's the thing.


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