Fascists to fascists
"Mephisto" is a new adaptation of the novel that gave birth to the famous film of the same name, the story of spying and betrayal in a German theater during the Nazis' rise to power.
By ROBIN EISGRAU
Based on Klaus Mann's 1949 novel, which also inspired the 1981 Academy
Award-winning film of the same name, "Mephisto" tells the story of how the rising
tide of fascism affects a group of actors and writers in the Germany of the
The actors are involved in three different kinds of theater:
Germany's "regional theater," political cabaret and the Nazi-created
State Theater. Beginning in November 1923 as Hitler's "Beer Hall Putsch"
coup attempt fails
there's tension in the Hamburg Theater Company between bon vivant diva
Carola Martin (played by Dee Dee Friedman) and Miklas (Tim
Cusack), an actor who is a Nazi sympathizer. Drinking with the theater
caretaker after the evening's performance, Miklas declares: "German people
have lost thier honor, but Hitler will get it back for them."
|Directed by: Rachel Kranz.|
Based on the novel by: Klaus Mann.
Cast: David Palmer Brown, Soraya Butler, Anushka Carter, Sabrina Cowen, Tim Cusack, Dee Dee Friedman, Mark Leydorf, Gerald Marsini, Matthew Pritchard, John Hall, Joel Van Liew.
Meanwhile, Hendrik (Mark Leydorf) tells the black dancer he has been having
an affair with that she's forbidden to come to his theater and she begs him
to teach her communism. The Pepper Mill, a revolutionary cabaret, rehearses
a farcical skit about a pregnant woman trying to get social security from an
uncooperative bureaucrat. Debate ensues as to whether the people need
revolutionary theater and an actor declares his allegiance to communism. A
poor young boy is found hiding in one of the theaters and Miklas convinces
him to join the Nazis, promising him a bowl of soup a day.
takes off and he becomes a darling of the Nazis. A wealthy associate of the
actors laments what has happened to Germany, saying, "We are headed for the
abyss I feel sorry for you, my children." As the grim events of early 1933
play out, some of the actors plan their escapes while others are doomed.|
"Mephisto" is a gripping, involving drama that may very well make you glad
you are living in the U.S. in the year 2001 and not in Germany 70 years ago.
The actors do a great job (some play dual roles) and persevere while
having to wear heavy wool outfiits in the un-air-conditioned theater.
|JUNE 25, 2001|
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