Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

January 15, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui "The play is not so much an attack on Hitler, but rather upon the complacency of the people who were able to resist him, but didn't.“ Brecht

Allegory/ parable/ satire • Brecht wrote the play in 1941, to allegorically reflect the rise of the Nazi’s in Germany (he had already fled the country at this point) and was written to be produced in America. • The play is set in Chicago in the 1920s, but parallels the rise of the Nazi parties in the 1930s in Germany (each of the 15 scenes in the play are based on an actual event in 1930s Germany) • Most of the characters also match a real participant in the events of Nazi’s rise to power and annexation of Austria (see hand out)

• As it somewhat makes a comedy out of a serious issue, its genre can be called satire.

Why Gangsters? • Brecht intended the play to be put on in the United States- would speak to them. • Brecht also felt the Nazi’s bullied their way into power, used intimidation and were motived by greed. He had previously described them as being a ‘violent gang’. The ‘capitalist gangsters’ used violence and intimidation to achieve aims fuelled by greed- so did Hitler • The Gangster setting also makes some of the social comment universal- It could be about any dictatorship. • Henry Goodman- ‘Brecht wrote this to warn the Americans: fascism could happen in your country. You love gangsters. You love murderers. You love film stars. You love celebrity. How can I convince you that in your culture such a terrible thing could happen? By taking your gangsters, your Capones, and showing you how these people can get away with terrible things because there’s corruption all around. That’s why he chooses Chicago. It’s corrupt.’

Becoming Ui • _A&safe=active

Playwright’s intention • The play is intended to be both comic and sinister- the skill of the actors is to play comic caricatures of gangsters- but to still then become increasingly sinister. • Brecht- ‘ … a parable play, written with the aim of destroying the usual disastrous respect which we feel for great murderers.’

• This reflects where Brecht feels Germany went wrong, they were too soft in dealing with Hitler because he didn’t seem a threat- but then became a very sinister threat! • Brecht- “Germany was not ready to laugh at Hitler” (on why he had never staged the play) “If the collapse of Hitler's enterprises is no evidence that he was a half-wit, neither is their scope any guarantee that he was a great man.“ • People should leave the play seeing that Hitler’s rise was preventable (resistible), but that no one took the threat seriously enough.

Mirroring reality

Style • Obviously style is Brechtian, but looking at performance you should focus on the physicality (Gestus/ Gestic action) • Certainly Brecht felt this way too, as when he wrote the script he put 27 images into it, showing how he felt the actors should stand. • Physically watch Henry Goodman’s performance, as he turns from Al Capone into Hitler. Its all in the gestures. I imagine in performance this is the sort of thing that will be written about in your exam.

Themes/ issues • People allowing corruption or violence to prosper. • Dictatorships are no better than small time gangsters. • According to Henry Goodman “Trust is central to the play”, so trust is a theme, I guess

Hitler/ Ui • Ui starts the play as Somewhat of a hapless Gangster, with little class And stereotypical mannerisms As with Hitler is real life, he learns how to speak and walk and sit like a great leader- in this scene the character changes and suddenly becomes more sinister.

Ernesto Roma/ Ernst Rohm • Rohm was leader of the SA, the Nazi private militia (in the same way Roma becomes chief of Police) When Hitler gained power, he wanted the SA to be given more power to control the streets. • Rohm was executed as part of ‘The Night Of The Long Knives’ (Roma is killed in similar fashion. • Rohm was, allegedly looking to overthrow Hitler. He had been one of his closet allies. • Roma, does not like the political involvement and wants to keep things going the old way- Ui becomes convinced he is going to try and overthrow him, so has him killed.

Giri and Givola • Giri represents Herman Guering, who was leader of the secret police (Gestapo) and aggressively levered his way to being Hitler’s successor (at the time the play was written). Giri is the most violent of Ui’s followers. ‘The coolest killer in chicago town’ • Givola represents Josef Goebbels, who was Hitler’s minister for propaganda and a vehement anti- semite. The public’s perception of Hitler… Givola is constantly giving advice to Ui on how to portray himself- ‘ He lubricates the lying lips with bile’

Hindenburg/ Dogsborough • Hindenburg was German president during the period the play parallels. • He was reliable and well respected German politician, however- he was now also very old and, it is said become senile. • He initially tried to resist Hitler, but ended up being blackmailed into appointing Hitler Chancellor after a scandal with East German aid money being misspent. • Dogsborough, an old and beaten up old man represents this character

Dogsborough Arturo Ui Giri Roma Givola Dullfeet Cauliflower Trust Vegetable dealers Gangsters Dock Aid scandal Warehouse-fire trial Chicago Cicero

Hindenburg Hitler Goring Rohm Goebbels Dollfuss Junkers (or East Prussian landowners) Petty bourgeoisie Fascists ‘Osthilfe’ (East Aid) scandal Reichstag Fire trial Germany Austria

Why are you telling me this Otley • Characters in Brecht plays are representational- this means that when they are played actors should not ‘become the character’ – they should physically represent them. • Try to spot how the actor physically and/ or vocally shows these aspect of their character.

Tasks… 1. Ui up to the scene with the actor 2. Ui after the scene with the actor 3. Giri, Givola, Roma

4. Dogsborough and Dulfeet 5. Prologue, epilogue

Presentation • For next Tuesday’s lesson, create a presentation that features 4 key moments for your character/ characters.

• Feature- context of the scene, acting skills (in great detail), relationships shown in the scene, personal response, audience reaction. • Create this on powerpoint, work together or do 2 moments each.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • •

Examination of a political oppression Empty space Scenes introduced by placard or projection Functional rather than decorative props Set changes observed by audience Lights used to show action, or time passing rather than create atmosphere Lanterns and operators in view of audience Music used to comment on or juxtapose action Songs used to tell story Each scene and song able to stand alone and deliver their own message Scenes inform each other but do not grow from one another Each scene and song displays human nature rather than character development The actor as a storyteller Re-examination of the familiar through rehearsal – use of past tense, speaking in third person, vocalising stage directions and swapping roles to evaluate characters helped distance actors from the emotions of the characters and continue to be surprised by the decisions their characters make Characters given titles and presented as representations Presentational acting style; performers demonstrate rather than imitate Narrative and circumstance as a priority over character Address the audience Examination of history of the past and present Ensemble to deliver Gestus – the mimetic and gestural expression of the social relationships prevailing between people of a given period (Neelands / Dobson. 2000: 106)


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