LOS ANGELES -- Further details about the Bertolt Brecht Centennial celebration were released recently by The Goethe Institute, which is facilitating and supporting a variety of southern California activities including play readings, performance art, cabarets and seminars that will run through May.
Feb. 10 marks the 100th anniversary of Brecht's birth.
Born in Augsburg, Germany, Brecht worked as a nurse before becoming a self-styled Stuckeschreiber (writer of plays) and quickly establishing himself as a prolific writer of poems, cabaret sketches and short plays.
A Marxist and staunch opponent of nationalist ideologies, Brecht, who was high on Hitler's blacklist, was forced into exile in Switzerland in 1933.
He arrived in California in 1941 and remained there until 1947 when, under pressure from the House Un-American Activities Committee, he returned to Zurich and then to East Berlin, where he ran the Berliner Ensemble until his death in 1956. Featured in the Brecht Centennial celebration, Feb. 5-10, are German director Percy Adlon, actor Eric Braeden, cabaret artist Weba Garretson and the performance art group Shrimps.
Among the Brecht plays to be read are Caucasian Chalk Circle, Mr Puntila and His Man Matti and The Good Person of Setzuan.
Centennial activities will take place at several venues including Skylight Books, At Beyond Baroque, the Midnight Special Bookstore and the Mark Taper Auditorium.
There will also be a Brecht fringe festival at Claremont College featuring Carl Weber, Brecht's longtime directing assistant at the Berliner Ensemble.
In addition, a Brecht film workshop will be offered by Louis Fantasia.
For a brochure listing all events, contact the Goethe Institute, 5700 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., CA. 90036, telephone (213) 525-3388, fax (213) 934-3597.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent