The Omsk Puppet Theater "Harlequin"

Berliner Ensemble (Germany)

"Artaud and Hitler in a Roman Caf" T. Peuckert

Directed by Paul Plamper

Featuring Martin Wuttke

"BERLINER ENSEMBLE" was established in 1949 by Berthold Brecht and his wife Helene Weigel. The "Artaud and Hitler in a Roman Caf" is a play for intellectual, free-thinking people and students of classic universities.

Martin Wuttke, one of the most famous German actors, is playing the lead role. An influential German magazine "Theater Heute" awarded him the Actor of the Year in 1995 and 2003. He played in three productions in Moscow: "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" (1996), "Artaud and Hitler in a Roman Caf" (2002) and "Master and Margarita" (2004). He starred in movies, in Russia he is most known for his work in "The Legends of Rita" (2000)

In this production Martin Wuttke plays a role of Antonin Artaud, a French poet, an actor and a director. He became famous mostly for his concept of radically changing the art of drama and especially for his "Theater of Cruelty". Artaud compares theater to plague: it makes people see who they really are, strips down their masks, exposing lies, lax morals, infamy and hypocrisy of their world.

"Artaud and Hitler in a Roman Caf" is based on a rumor that back in the 1930s Antonin met Hitler in Berlin.

Review

Tom Peuckert in his play "introduces" a frantic founder of the "Theater of Cruelty" Antonin Artaud to a demonic fuehrer Adolf Hitler. His imagination was stirred up by an interesting fact of Artaud's biography: he wrote a letter to Hitler while he was in asylum during the war.

The play doesn't show the meeting itself, it is Artaud's monologue, as he talks to Hitler (Martin Wuttke)...

Today it would be stupid to judge Artaud for admiring the most influential Nazi. What can you do? The man's crazy. As for romantic and modern sources of the Fascist ideology, well, there are many other books and plays written on this subject.

Wuttke's performance is an incredible mix of all styles of acting. He is flexible and agile, like the devil, but at the same time each one of his movements is sculpturesque and complete. He is always in control; he can accentuate his own flow of energy with a tiny detail: whatever the crazy tricks plays the insane Artaud, he turns his head towards the audience with an affable, but at the same time arrogant, little smile. Artaud always keeps distance. The only thing that Martin Wuttke doesn't let the audience do is to feel compassion for his character. A sophisticated modern theater lover would appreciate the play. A narrow-minded traditionalist would not.

Roman Dolzhansky, "Kommersant", #64 of 04.12.2002