R&D of an unknown play by Bertolt Brecht
FLEISCHHACKER (1924-9) was Brecht's first play to explore the devastating effects of global capitalism, prompting his interest in Marxism and the development of epic theatre. Although incomplete, this prescient text, written in a broken kind of iambic verse, offers illuminating insight into the 21st-century crisis of finance-led capitalism: its global economic risks and harrowing effects on social cohesion, the urban poor and migrants. Scenes combine the story of a cut-throat futures trader, Jae Fleischhacker, who attempts to corner the wheat market, with the story of an impoverished farming family who come to Chicago to try their luck; both stories end in ruin.
Our R&D at Guest Projects Studio will work towards a coherent performance piece and multi-media concept, bringing together a cast of 4 actors and a creative design team, in view of a full production in 2020. Brecht's fractured snapshot aesthetics will be captured in a multi-media montage flickering between live scenes, digital image and video footage, inspired by visuals collected by Brecht himself and updated by our own experience of the 2008 financial crash and its ensuing social and political crises. The project is based on a new translation of FLEISCHHACKER, published in Brecht and the Writer's Workshop, Bloomsbury, 2019.
Creative team: Director / translator: Phoebe von Held, Designer: Sophie Jump, Sound / technical director: Jamie Hamilton, Lighting: Joshua Gadsby, Film-maker: Dror Shohet, Dramaturgy / translator: Matthias Rothe.
The R&D of this poetically riveting and timely play by Brecht will culminate in 3 work-in-progress showings at the start of May. These will be the first performances FLEISCHHACKER in the UK. All showings will be free of charge and take place at Guest Projects Studio. If you would like to attend, please register below as places will be limited:
FLEISCHHACKER work-in-progress showings:
Thursday, 2 May: 7.30. Please register here
Friday, 3 May: 4pm. Please register here
Friday, 3 May: 7pm. Please register here
The showing on Thur 2, 7.30pm will be followed by a discussion chaired by Tim Bano, Joint Lead Critic for The Stage Newspaper and Producer for Radio 4.
The showing on Fri 3, 7pm will be followed by a discussion chaired by Tom Kuhn, Professor of German Literature (Oxford University), translator and general editor of Brecht's works in English (Methuen Drama).
Additionally, we are offering two workshops, both free of charge:
A 2.5-day Brecht Theatre Workshop for Young People (age 19-27). This workshop is for young theatre-engaged people. It is cross-disciplinary in focus, and will take place on Fri 5 April: 5-8pm at MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1DH; Mo 8 April: 11-5pm and Tue 9 April: 10-5pm at Guest Projects, 1 Andrews Road, London E8 4QL. For further information and to sign up, please click here.
We are also running a Brecht Theatre Workshop for participants attached to Outside Edge Theatre on Fri 22 March.
Both workshops are facilitated by Phoebe von Held and drama facilitator Fani Arampatzidou, as well as other creative team members.
Our Fleischhacker R&D is made possible through funding from Arts Council England, The Talle Fund University of Minnesota, The Writing Brecht Project at Oxford University, and through a Guest Projects Residency hosted by Shonibare Studio. Image © Sophie Jump.