Posts Tagged ‘underground zero festival’

Hoi Polloi presents Brecht’s Baal

July 24, 2012

When I first read Brecht’s Baal (1918), I was simultaneously disturbed and intrigued.  Baal’s treatment of the women in the play is deplorable, but I was compelled by the idea of a station drama in which the (anti-) hero becomes increasingly depraved rather than enlightened throughout.  John Willet writes that “Expressionism . . . showed [Brecht] the dangers against which to react,” suggesting that the playwright wrote Baal “out of disgust with” Hanns Johnst’s Der Einsame, and arguing that Expressionist productions “outraged [Brecht’s] sense of humor” as well as his social consciousness (The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht 108- 109).  So is Baal a sort of parody of Expressionist drama (and therefore are we meant to critique Baal’s treatment of women) or is it a romanticization of the male genius artist who thwarts the confines of traditional society (misogynistically represented in the text by its female characters)?  Hoi Polloi has garnered much critical acclaim—their Three Pianos,  presented at NYTW, won an Obie in 2010–and I am interested to see how they use humor in their production, and whether humor can ameliorate the play’s depictions of women.  I am  also very excited to visit the company’s new theatre space, Jack, particularly since it is in my Brooklyn ‘hood.

Thursday July 26th at 8p

Hoi Polloi presents BAAL, by Bertolt Brecht

Directed by Alec Duffy as part of the 2012 undergroundzero festival

Location: JACK

505 1/2 Waverly Ave between Fulton and Atlantic, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.  C or G train to Clinton-Washington.

Performances are pay-what-you-can at the door, with no advance reservations possible.