A warning from history? Aequitas Theatre relocates Bertolt Brecht’s 1944 modern classic Fear and Misery of the Third Reich in the near future for a timely revival, starting performances this week at London’s Brockley Jack Theatre, where it’s running until 3 February 2018. Have you got your tickets yet?
The world is under the threat of fascism and war is looming ever closer. Liberalism and socialist ties are condemned by those in power. How did we get here?
Aequitas takes Brecht’s Fear and Misery of the Third Reich and applies it to our modern global society, taking a look at the lives of average people and the reasons they comply with those in power. Set in the near future, this piece imagines what the world might become if we continue to repeat our mistakes.
“Our task is very difficult, but it’s the greatest one there is – to free the human race from its oppressors.”
Bertolt Brecht was a pioneer and theatrical genius whose work not only commented on the politics of the 1930s but also strove to foster change. His work is renowned worldwide and he is credited with the construction of a new ‘Brechtian’ method of performance. Fear and Misery of the Third Reich was begun in 1937, with the first eight playlets performed in 1938, as Hitler rose to power in Germany. Brecht’s other plays include Mother Courage and Her Children, Life of Galileo, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Good Person of Szchewan and, seen recently at Brockley Jack, The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Aequitas creates theatre that represents and comments on our ever-changing world. Past productions have mashed technology with theatre in work that looks at sociopolitical aspects of today. Aequitas is made up of several founding members: Rachael Bellis, Sophia Start and Chuma Emembolu. The company is committed to equality and justice and is named after that principle in Greek philosophy. Aequitas works with artists of all backgrounds and is committed to casting diversely.
Fear and Misery of the Third Reich stars Clark Alexander, Faye Maughan, Hugo Trevels, LaTayna Santana Peterkin, Rhiannon Sommers and William Ross-Fawcett. It’s helmed by artistic director Rachael Bellis and designed by Afke Laarakker, with sound and lighting by Chum Emembolu and music by Clifford Hughes.
— Aequitas Theatre (@AequitasTheatre) January 9, 2018
Why does it resonate now? Discuss.
Artistic director Rachael Bellis explains why she was drawn to Fear and Misery of the Third Reich:
“I’ve been a fan of this particular play since I studied it in a masterclass given to Kingston Masters Degree students by Stephen Unwin. His passion for Brecht was infectious and I have mulled this piece over since then. When 2016 happened, first Brexit and then Trump, I immediately knew I had to put this on because it resonates on so many levels.
“For me, this piece is about how the people (as opposed to the leaders) have driven us to where we are and the danger we face when we ignore the experts and our history. We could go on about comparing Trump to Hitler, but that doesn’t do justice to the situation then and now.
“The more interesting idea is that people voted for Trump and Brexit in the first place and where this comes from considering the financial crash in the context of our history. The real crux of my question when working on this piece was ‘how did we get here, and I hope that this lesson from history shows us just what our future could be.
Does theatre have a voice when it comes to power and politics? After the performance on Thursday 25 January 2018, there will be a free post-show Q&A with Rachael Bellis and Dr Andreas Kramer, reader in German and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths College, discussing the role theatre has to play in telling a political story.
Fear and Misery of the Third Reich runs from 16 January to 3 February 2018 at London’s Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, with performances Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced £15 (concessions £12). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!