‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’

Written by Bertolt Brecht It has been a long time since the people of Belfast, has had the opportunity to enjoy ‘Left Wing Theatre’.  This opportunity recently took the form in the presentation of Bertolt Brecht’s most notable and potent play ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’.

With the spectre of Fascism’s emergence in Europe, most notably in Italy and Germany, Brecht wrote ‘The Resistible Rise…’ play to parallel the ascendancy of Adolf Hitler, and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (better known as  the Nazi Party) in Germany, from the late 20, to the early 30, 

The adapted script was by Ralph Manhiem and directed by Lisa May, preformed by ‘BRUISER THEATRE COMPANY’ (founded by Lisa May).  Performances were staged consecutively over two nights in The Belfast Waterfront’s studios; the venue was surprisingly complementary to the production.

Bertolt Brecht portrays his characters with that of small time gangsters in Chicago and neighbouring city Cicero, during the great depression of the latter part of the 20s and into the 30s, each character is paralleled with that of the chief protagonists and the historical events taking place in Germany between 1928 -1932.

Arturo Ui, is a small time gangster, whose rise to prominence is paralleled with Hitler. Arturo’s henchmen characteristic parallel other historical figures and groups: Giri/Georing, leading Nazi, second in command of the Third Reich and commander of the Luftwaffe; Roma/ Ernst Rohn, co-fonder of the Nazi Brown Shirts; Givola/Joseph Goebblels, Hitler’s propaganda minister and a virulent anti-Semitists. The state is paralleled with the ‘Cauliflower Trust’/the capitalist industrialists, the Junkers, the Prussian landed aristocracy. Chicago is characterised with that of Germany, and Cicero with Austria.

Lisa May’s, directing and the professional performance of the actors gave a comprehensive insight as to the nature of Brecht’s thinking during that period. A cast of six acting forty characters can only speak for itself. Each actor must be praised for the roles that they played, moving from one character then to another gives the play an added interest. The play consisted of fourteen scenes in chronological order. Scene 1 is paralleled with 1929-1932s, as Germany is hit by the world economic crisis (the great depression). This is the first stage in the rise of Arturo Ui, from a small time gangster and his ruthless rise to what only could be described as ‘The Godfather’ (Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor). Each scene is paralleled with the traumatic events that are taking place in Germany, concluding with Arturo and his henchmen being recognised and supported by the vegetable traders of Chicago and Cicero.   

Previous Article

Dawn raids on Unison branch offices

Next Article


Related Posts

Hermitage attack pay and conditions

A generalised assault is underway against the pay and conditions of workers in the private health sector. In the likes of the Bon Secours and the Mater Private the employers have sought to impliment paycuts in line with the governement attacks on public service pay.

However the Hermitage Clinic in Lucan has gone even further. In September/October 2009 they began a sham consultation with the clinic's 300 staff (half of whom are nurses in the INMO and the remainder other technical and admin grades represented by SIPTU) about implemented cost saving measures. This came on the back of a major investor pulling out of the clinic.

Afghanistan – Insurgency, poverty and corruption

Taliban insurgency, poverty and corruption

Afghanistan. Western strategy in tatters

By Niall Mullholland

Another grisly milestone has been reached in Afghanistan: over 300 British soldiers have now died, since the war began in 2001. The average age of those killed is 22.

No such records are kept of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. It is estimated that thousands of Afghan civilians have been directly killed due to military action, including use of air strikes by the US forces. As well as this, possibly tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have died indirectly from the war, as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment and violent crime.

The fact that the British forces’ death rate this year is twice that of 2006 shows the UK and US’s war plans are going awry in this unwinnable and unjustified war. This strategic failure lies behind David Cameron’s comment at the recent G20 summit that British forces “can’t be there for another five years.”

Sinn Féin’s neo-liberal economic “alternative”

Sinn Féin recently published it’s policy paper “There is a Better Way”, a plan for the cuts which offered a few populist measures as window-dressing e.g. a marginal pay-cut for MLAs, reduced use of business consultants and slashing bonuses to hospital consultants. But aside from these few populist policies, the document is a 100% acceptance of the cuts agenda.

New Labour, Tories, Lid Dems – ‘Worse than Thatcher’

We will not pay!

So similar are the policies of the three main political parties that you couldn't get an anorexic fag paper between them. So much so that in the Channel 4 'debate' on Monday night chancellor Alistair Darling and shadow chancellors Vince Cable and George Osborne were in danger of actually morphing into one person.