The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui //
Even the vegetable sellers in Chicago can feel the repercussions of the global economic crisis at the end of the 1920s. Everyone is doing whatever they can to survive. And suddenly, amidst the corrupt cauliflower and greedy greens, Arturo Ui appears, a small-time gangster from the Bronx who senses that his big chance has come. Through extortion, murder and shameless audacity, he quickly rises to become one of the city’s most feared gangster barons – and forces businesses, politicians and the legal system to side with him. In a large-scale self-enactment, Arturo Ui is ultimately elected »Führer« by the city’s residents before he starts his conquest of other major American cities.
Bertolt Brecht wrote this satirical parable on Hitler’s seizure of power while in exile in Finland in 1941. His »major historical gangster show«, set in Chicago and loosely based on the mafia legend Al Capone, was intended for American audiences and a premiere on Broadway. Unfortunately, nobody knew what to make of the piece at the time, which is why the world premiere took place much later in Stuttgart in 1958. Similar to films such as Chaplin’s »The Great Dictator« (1940) and Lubitsch’s »To Be or Not to Be« (1942), the satirical play is a tried and true means of revealing the mechanisms of dictatorship and fascism. Brecht strips Hitler of his demoniacal nature and demonstrates that his rise was not inevitable, but could have been »resisted«.
Following »Herr Jensen steigt aus« (»Mr. Jensen Quits«), this will be the second DNT production directed by Christoph Mehler, who has produced plays in Frankfurt, Leipzig and Mainz. In addition to Robert Schuster’s production of »Mephisto«, Mehler will present another story of a rising star on the eve of the First World War.