The Berliner Ensemble, once headed by Bertolt Brecht, will make its first appearance in the United States -- and its final appearance in the world -- when it presents Brecht's Arturo Ui at UCLA Freud's Theatre July 7-11.
The producers are Cal Performances in association with the Goethe Institute, the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre.
Founded by Brecht in 1949 in East Berlin, the 50-year-old world-famous company will disband after its UCLA appearance and reconstitute itself under the new leadership of Claus Peymann, currently director of the Vienna Burgtheater, on Sept. 1, 1999. The new company will keep the Berliner Ensemble name but will break with the Brecht tradition and produce other playwrights.
Arturo Ui was directed by Heiner Muller and stars famed German actor Martin Wuttke. Performances are in German with English supertitles.
Written in 1941, Arturo Ui is a political satire about the making of a fascist as it re-tells the story of Hitler and the Nazi era. Set in 1920 Chicago, Brecht modeled the plot and characters on Al Capone's mafia rule in order to demonstrate the dangers of National Socialism and fascism.Call the UCLA box office at (310) 825-2101.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent