We are currently working on the play ‘Bazaar and Rummage’ by Sue Townsend. It is set in a church hall, in the early 1980s, and is about a group of agoraphobic women who are persuaded to venture from their homes to run a jumble sale. It can be described ‘A bittersweet drama of agoraphobics trying to overcome their fear of the great outdoors, it is their smooth transition from comedy to pathos.’ The cast consists of six women, ranging from 18 to 65. The production ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ is a menacing parable, written by Bertolt Brecht in 1941 at the height of Nazi supremacy in Europe, captures the build-up to horrors that were to be unleashed by the Third Reich in the later years of the Second World War.
From Hitler’s beginnings as a political upstart, his appointment as German chancellor, the destruction of the Reichstag, the murder of Austria’s chancellor and the conquest of central Europe, Arturo Ui recreates an atmosphere that is as deeply unsettling as it is darkly comic. It was played by only three actors, this was because Brecht was more interested in actors demonstrating the role as opposed to being the role. The actors playing several roles, also meant that the audience were more distanced from any emotional connection with the piece of theatre, but in our play the audience can’t help but get involved in the actors and relate to them, as the characters experience many emotions. In our piece, the actors play the same characters throughout the piece of theatre, but develop and change in their roles. They also form relationships and unfold quite personal information about themselves as they get more intimate towards that character, their individual fears erupt but calm is restored by the ever-sensible Fliss, the trainee social worker.
They are quite determined women and want to overcome their fears and troubles. In ‘the resistable rise of Arturo Ui’ Brecht recasts the rise of Hitler as a small-time Chicago gangster’s take-over of the city’s greengrocery trade. These two plays for a start are very different styles, as our play is more psychological as it is based more around relationships between people and thoughts and feelings, where as the play we watched is more political and historical, promoting power and competition through the characters. It is a witty and savage satire on the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, and our play is a naturalistic comedy in the way that the characters are quite neurotic, dramatic and comical, but in scenes can be naturalistic when talking about their phobias or deaths.
Ui is very authoritative, similarly to Gwenda who is dominant and who has decided to “devote herself to the poor and ignorant” and leads a self help group of three agrophobics – Margaret, Bell-Bell and Katrina, who are quite manipulated and controlled like Hitler’s society, who were afraid but had to follow Hitler as they had no choice. Another difference between our plays is that Brechts is done in an epic style, although he doesn’t speak in past tense, but he uses ‘Spass’, as the characters were ‘fun/satire..grotesque stereotypes’ that the audience laughed at and condemned what they stood for. He also used multimedia such as acting, dance, music, signs and film projection, which we don’t really include apart from soundtracks and acting.
He also uses a lot of symbolism and gestures, even in the way that they used puppets to represent characters in society and in ‘The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui’ all of the characters and places were represented such as Dogsborough actually was Hindenburg and the Cauliflower trust for instance stood for the Weimar Republic, in our play all of our characters symbolise different phobias and problems in life. Overall the plays are very interesting, even though they are both conveyed in different styles and ‘The resistible rise of Arturo Ui’ is also done in a narrative tone, they do however portray similar themes such as power, authority, determination, fear and influence.