It was Bertolt Brecht first play, which he wrote while still in college. The BBC endeavored -- er, endeavoured to stage a production of it starring David Bowie and Zoë Wanamaker. And now the Fovea Floods Theatre brings Baal to Off-Off-Broadway's Ontological Theatre in downtown New York City July 20-30.
Baal is the obscure tale of a rebellious poet who journeys through revelry and debauchery to experience life. Filled with sex, violence, and lines like "If a woman's hips are ample/ Then I want her in the hay/ Skirt and stockings all a-rumple/ (Cheerfully) - for that's my way," the play is far from wholesome. This production is adapted from Brecht by Fovea Floods and performed in 22 scenes.
Fovea Floods aspires to widen the horizon of modern theatre. Appropriately, they follow the Brechtian theory of epic theatre, which departs from the conventional way of theatrical viewing. In the Realistic theatre of illusion, the audience is encouraged to identify and become emotionally involved with characters. In Brecht's Verfremdungs effekt ("alienation effect"), spectators know they are in a theatre watching a play, and are more apt to be critical of characters. Using this, Fovea seeks to create theatre that can compete with the spectacle of sports and film.
The Ontological at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, 131 East 10th (at Second Ave.) is the host of Baal playing through July 30. Curtain is 8 PM and tickets are $12. For reservations, call (212) 533-4650.
-- by Ernio Hernandez