In Memory of Bertolt Brecht (ONE of ONE)

Rebroadcast of the 2013 program

Even though the German playwright, poet, director and theoretician of the stage was persecuted by the Nazi’s, and then forced to leave his exile home in the US when he was accused of being a communist, he did become a major influence on visual and performance artists such as Jean Luc Godard, Robert Wilson, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Augusto Boal, Pina Bausch, Dario Fo and many others.

His most famous plays, the Threepenny Opera and the Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny were just two of over sixty plays. During the war years, Brecht became a prominent writer of the “Literature in Exile”. He expressed his opposition to the National Socialist and Fascist movements in his most often performed plays: Mother Courage, The Good Person of Szechwan, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich, and the Life of Galileo that he revised after the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of his most searing, funny, frightening and historically accurate plays against Hitler is the The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The play followed precisely the stages of the Nazi’s seizure of power and posed the most important question: Could Hitler’s rise have been stopped?

On Brecht’s 100ds birthday the Royal National Theatre from London, under their first formidable woman director Di Trevis, gave a performance in his honor in San Francisco. They presented songs, and read from poetry and plays. I was given permission to record the songs during the dress rehearsal and include them in this broadcast. They are, in order of appearance: Song of the SA Man, The Seven Deadly Sins, To a Portable Radio, The Ballad of the “Jewish Whore” Marie Sanders, To Those Born Later, Hollywood Elegy, The Moldau, and Everything or Nothing.

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