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Brecht's Ashes


(1980 - 1984) (first version: 1980; second version: 1982)

 

Brecht's Ashes

 

A crossing through nazism, World War II, the Thirty Years' War, the Un-American Activities Committee, until salvation arrives with Ulbricht's communist Berlin.

In Brecht's Ashes, independent lines of actions are presented simultaneously, concentrating a double system of references into a single scene.These two characteristics of Eugenio Barba's dramaturgy are put to the service of an impressive historical tapestry which intertwines:

 

1. the biography of Bertolt Brecht;

2. historical events during his lifetime;

3. the transposition that these events underwent in Brecht's works.

 

The writer's relatively secure years of exile are set against the deaths of distant friends; the Second World War melts into the Thirty Years' War as experienced by Mother Courage (when Kattrin, the mute, is captured, raped and put to death); the abjuration of Galileo is also Brecht's deposition before the Un-American Activities Committee. Powerful theatrical images are condensed into easily recognisable conceptual knots, as in satirical drawings and political cartoons. In the end, in Stalinist East Berlin with its grey and depressing atmosphere, the young and ingenuous Kattrin, who dances for joy over liberty and socialism, is suffocated by having "Pravda" thrust down her throat ("Pravda" meaning "Truth" in Russian).

 

Created in Holstebro, at the same time as The Million.

 

Actors

Torben Bjelke (only in the first version), Roberta Carreri, Toni Cots, Tage Larsen, Francis Pardeilhan, Iben Nagel Rasmussen, Silvia Ricciardelli, Ulrik Skeel, Julia Varley, Torgeir Wethal

 

Scenic space: Odin Teatret

Text and director: Eugenio Barba, using a montage of Brecht's poetry and songs as well as other documents from the period. After Brecht's heirs withdrew their permission to use the texts, Barba set to work to compose a new montage which, instead of using Brecht's verses, often referred back to those of other authors who had inspired Brecht. The text is in German and translated by the actor who plays Mack the Knife into the language of the country in which the performance is shown.

Number of spectators per performance: 150.

 

166 performances from March 1980 to October 1984

 

 

 

On Tour

Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, USA

 

 

Short live documentation

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