resistible rise of arturo ui
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht is a savage satire in blank verse on the rise of Hitler, wittily transposed into a small-time gangster’s takeover of Chicago’s greengrocery trade. The seam of black comedy which runs through this political parable does not lessen the sharpness of its accusation; the unpleasantness of the pseudo-dictator Ui, one of Brecht’s most intense creations, is hardly a revelation, but Brecht points to the resistibility of his rise, and on the society that permitted it.
The names he gives to Ui’s henchmen mirror those of their Nazi counterparts, and the ominous pattern of events by which Ui takes control of the Cauliflower Trust is mapped by explanatory notices onto the real historical events in Germany, ensuring the play never strays far from its terrible inspiration. The play was not staged in Brecht’s lifetime, and although he intended it for an American audience, the first production was at Stuttgart in 1958.
Using a wide range of parody and pastiche – from Al Capone to Shakespeare’s Richard III and Goethe’s Faust – Brecht creates a hilariously comic and darkly condemnatory allegory which warns of the persistence of fascism. This version is translated by Ralph Manheim.
In the dark world of Arturo Ui the set will strive to set up the audience’s expectation of borders or rules and then break them. It will utilize the baggage that all people bring into an experience and use it to distract them. As the set changes throughout the story it will continually distract from the actions of the play while adding . Ui continually bends and forms what the people see as reality with his silhouette of lies. Through the set we will be able to track but most importantly feel the affects of Ui’s actions as he rises to power and changes the world around him in his own image. The set will continually tweak and divert the audience’s assumptions about what they know. It will be a resolute but moving and all-encompassing canvas in which not only the characters of the show but also the audience will be lied to and continually confounded by.