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What theatrical methods would you employ to reveal Brecht's political purpose in a production of Ui?

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Introduction

What theatrical methods would you employ to reveal Brecht's political purpose in a production of Ui? "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" written by Bertolt Brecht is a political parable set in Chicago during the Second World War. It has been described as "a blasting attack on the banal irrationality which can lead in certain circumstances to psychopathic governments" The main regime that Brecht was commenting on was Nazi Germany so this would influence the production techniques. Brecht wanted to make his audience feel uncomfortable and the challenge facing any director is how to make the play have a political conscience. The play is set in Chicago for two reasons: the gangster industry was rife in the city during the war and because the setting provided "a cloak to distance German audiences from what were parables about their own society." Brecht had been attacking the Nazis from as early as 1930 in the poem the "Song of the SA man" and "Hitler Chorales" but after the open portrayals of Hitler by Chaplin, Brecht was inspired to present the characters of him and his associates as protection-racket gangsters from the Al Capone era. ...read more.

Middle

In the first scene where the good men of the Cauliflower Trust are discussing their pending financial ruin, they concede that they might need the evilness of Ui and his organization to assist them in the future "What straits we'll come to yet" This also represents an important event in Nazi Germany when the respected powerful industrialists realize that they might need Hitler's protection against the left. Each of the main characters in the play relates to a famous person in the Nazi regime, Ui=Hitler, Dogsborough= von Hindbrurg, Roma= Ernst Roehm, etc. This could be shown to the audience in different ways. The costume that is worn by the characters could start as normal Chicago clothes but as the play progresses it changes to the clothes that would have been worn by their German counterpart. So Ui and Dogsborough would wear Green military uniform and Roma the gray/black uniform worn by the S.A. Another way the director could portray this that is more in keeping with Brecht's views on theatre is that the characters could wear a badge with their name and their German counterpart's name on it. ...read more.

Conclusion

The props and clothes could have Swastikas painted on them. All the swastikas would be painted in multi-colours to show Brecht's views of the Nazi regime. The last scene when Ui addresses the people can be made into a parody of the Nuremberg rally with the crates elevating Ui so he is on a podium. At the end of Scene 15 there is an Epilogue that reinforces the main political points to the audience. As a director I would have all the characters on stage to freeze frame and an actor dressed in an allied World War Two uniform would march on in a military fashion and read from a scroll as if they were important orders. "The world was almost won by an ape" "The womb he crawled from still going strong" Brecht is trying to warn audiences that what happened in Nazi Germany can easily happen again and his words of over fifty years ago have turned out to be very true with oppressive regimes still in operation such as Saddam Hussain in Iraq and until recently The Talaban in Afghanistan. ...read more.

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