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Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe

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Junges Theater in Göttingen just started playing Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe [a.k.a. Saint Joan of the Stockyards; Wikipedia]. It’s a piece by Bertolt Brecht written in the 1929 economic crisis and playing in the Chicago meat industry of the time.

And, particularly in these days of economic ‘crisis’/insanity, the piece seems contemporary despite its age: Its protagonist Johanna is part of a salvation-army type organisation and wants to improve the world. ‘The world’ being the slaughterhouses of Chicago and the business that goes with it as supply, demand and speculation go crazy. As the piece goes on, she learns that there is very little hope for the good world she envisions and that all participants on the market are very eager to get the most profit for themselves, no matter what the cost. Hungry workers will steal. Greedy businesspeople will force deals upon their peers and not be able to honour them a week later when prices have changed. They’ll even feel sorry for themselves in that situation. The mythic balance of supply and demand starts looking like a dangerous lever that people can pull for their personal profit. People are bad. Capitalism is unhealthy. Johanna is naïve and fails.

The piece was performed by five actors, most of which played several roles – usually business types with suits and workers without suits. They used interesting metal-grid fences on stage which looked cool along with a weird movable box as the home of the main businessman, Mauler. I didn’t particularly like the lighting which seemed overly contrasty to me and made it hard to see well in many scenes.

April 15, 2010, 23:59

Tagged as bertolt brecht, heilige johanna der schlachthöfe, junges theater, theatre.


Comment by Florian: User icon

Bertolt! Or just Bert.

April 17, 2010, 0:21

Comment by ssp: User icon

@Florian: Thanks for pointing out the typo. Corrected, now.

April 17, 2010, 19:16

Comment by Florian: User icon

Or just one of them? No “d” in his name.

April 18, 2010, 11:47

Comment by ssp: User icon

Damn it, I must have gotten that one wrong all my life. Off I go to correct a bunch of older posts as well. I guess I should double-check on Wikipedia in the future.

Thanks again!

April 18, 2010, 12:16

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