The Drama Department will stage a production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht in the Martel Theater in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film on April 17,18 and 19. Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Reservations will open to the public April 2; contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written in three weeks in 1941 while in exile, Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is a sharp and thrilling take on the rise of Hitler shot through with razor-sharp wit. Brecht recasts Hitler’s rise as a Chicago gangster’s takeover of the city’s green-grocery trade.
Set in 1930s Chicago, this gangster spectacle explores our relationship with violence as a way to achieve and maintain power. The Great Depression is the perfect time for a small time gangster to make it big, to seize a greater power, an absolute power. The play was not produced until as late as 1958, and not until 1961 in English. In spite of this, Brecht never envisioned a version of the play in Germany, intending it for the American stage all along.
Vassar alumna Ianthe Demos will be at the helm of Arturo Ui, serving as a guest director this semester. Demos is Artistic Director of One Year Lease (OYL), a New York City-based ensemble company dedicated to creating new work, training young theater artists, and advancing international collaboration in theater. She co-founded the company in 2001 with fellow Vassar alumnae Ariane Barbanell and Jacqueline Kristel.
Demos has also directed for OYL Clay Mcleod Chapman’s Teaser Cow, Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano, Ariel Dorfman’s Resistance Trilogy (Death and the Maiden, Widows, and Reader), Brendan Cowell’s Bed, Caridad Svich’s Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell that Was Once her Heart (a rave fable), PHAEDRA x 3 (Jean Racine’s Phèdre, Matthew Maguire’s Phaedra and Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love), Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and Oresteia, translated and adapted from Aeschylus by Iason Demos and Yannis Papatheodorou.
Among its many efforts OYL runs an annual theater apprentice program in northern Greece, and its ensemble members have worked with numerous theater companies internationally including the National Theater of Greece, the Sydney Theater Company, the Public, the Capitol Repertory Theater, and the Kennedy Center.
Inviting guest directors is a crucial part of the educational mission of the Drama Department. “To have these artists in residence at Vassar is to bring to our students the vitality of professional standards, and the immense wealth of experience these artists have acquired over their careers,” says Gabrielle Cody, professor and chair of the Drama Department. “Our students benefit from these encounters by realizing that they can connect the learning they do at Vassar to the process of their work in rehearsal—with professionals.”
Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (http://www.vassar.edu).
Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.