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The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui




Tony Randall's National Actor's Theatre opened it's 2002 season with a special presentation of Bertolt Brecht's savage satire, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.

Oscar and Tony Award-winning actor Al Pacino starred in the title role as Arturo Ui....

"A comic parable about the rise of Hitler, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui charts the ascent of a small time gangster who  violently takes over Chicago's greengrocery trade.  His annexation of Cicero, a Chicago suburb, parallels German conquests in the 30's and the unification with Austria.

"Written in exile in 1941, Brecht savages his characters with a black wit: the play is as sharp and ugly as a broken bottle.  It is a direct attack on the apathetic response to Hitler's rise to power and serves as a warning to future generations of all nations.

"No simple allegory, Arturo Ui is alarmingly contemporary, revealing the fertile bed corruption makes for tyranny. 

"This is a warning that while we may have defeated one dictator, 'the bitch that bore him is in heat again.'"

Copyright: September 8, 2002
By: Laura Deni





Simon McBurney, Artistic Director of Complicite, directs a cast which includes Gerry Bamman, Lothaire Bluteau, Sterling Brown, Steve Buscemi, Dominic Chianese, Billy Crudup, Charles Durning, Linda Emond, Tom Riis Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Michael Goldfinger, John Goodman, Jacqueline McKenzie, Chris McKinney, Ajay Naidu, Novella Nelson, Matte Osian, Al Pacino, Chazz Palminteri, Tony Randall, Robert Stanton, John Ventimiglia, Jack Willis.



"To say that Al Pacino is giving the performance of his career at the moment is not to say that he is giving his best performance ever.  What is true is that in the splashy, star-packed new revival of Bertolt Brecht's Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, Mr. Pacino sometimes seems to be channeling most of his more celebrated roles.  It's as if his entire professional life were passing before your eyes in a series of juicy, iconographic acting bites...."
"Flashes of these portraits in celluloid illuminate the National Actors Theatre's production of Brecht's long-winded fable about fascist tyranny in vicious old Chicago, staged by the British director Simon McBurney...."
"Be grateful that Mr. Pacino, in the title role of a Hitlerian thug who conquers the cauliflower business, arrives equipped with this built-in animated scrapbook.  And that he can translate its elements into such viscerally theatrical terms.
...."More than any Shakespearean monarch...it is Richard III who comes to mind...When you meet his Ui, he walks hunchback-style, with a simian slump.  But if Mr. Pacino is doing Ui as Richard, it is the inner pathological Richard, with no courtly camouflage.  Here is a a purely animal presence, a brute whose hands hang at his sides like deadweights and whose eye sockets register as hungry black holes.  This man is all id, and Mr. Pacino's enjoyably audacious performance is about an id in search of an ego."
"The production's highpoint...comes not with Ui's completed metamorphosis into a Hitler facsimile but much earlier, when Ui enlists a derelict actor to teach him how 'guys walk around in the theater or the opera.'"
"The alcoholic thespian is played by Tony Randall, the founder of the National Actors Theatre, who is in splendid self-satirizing form here.  To watch the older man instruct the younger on Shakespearean style becomes a blissful multilevel parody of both political performance and two distinct approaches to acting...."
From The New York Times, October 22, 2002, Scarface? The Godfather? Nope, It's a Hitlerian Thug By Ben Brantley

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