Arturo Ui and Cauliflower Power

Week 9 in the Arts Centre sees the harrowing rise of an uncanny gangster in the WUDS production of Brecht’s satire, The Resisitible Rise of Arturo Ui.

The play, written while Brecht was in exile during World War II, is a parody of Hitler’s rise to power in which a small-time Chicago mobster works towards achieving complete control of the cauliflower racket through blackmail, rhetoric and ruthless oppression. Inspired by Elizabethan theatre, particularly Shakespeare’s Richard III, the play serves as a humorous and haunting commentary on apathy and political indifference.

The WUDS production, set to appear in the Warwick Arts Centre Studio from the 1st – 4th of December, will be a grotesque reworking of the play in a modern London setting, subtly mocking British nationalism in the context of political apathy.

The production is significantly influenced by the work of actor, playwright and director Steven Berkoff, forming characters from the basis of a gesture and building precise and expressive movement into the dialogue.

“We’re hoping to offer our audience a distinct theatrical experience, and that people will take something applicable to the real world from the performance”, says assistant director, Tom Allott.

As an ensemble piece with a cast of twenty, Ui lends itself well to spectacle and is set to offer its audience an absurd and surreal experience. The production will be welcoming a number of new faces to the Warwick stage, as well as seeing performances from more familiar blood.
The ensemble theme of the show is extended to the close-knit structure of the production team, who are working across their specific roles to create a unified aesthetic image, integrating costume, make-up and set design with publicity and marketing strategies, as is soon to be evident on campus.

The two major aesthetic themes running throughout the play will be political propaganda and the image of the cauliflower, both of which are to be applied in an interreflective and surreal fashion to the set, make-up and costumes. Inspired by political posters, ranging from Obama images to the iconic World War II ‘Dig for Victory’ posters, designers Rosie Bristow and Ashlee Brown will also be making use of “cauliflower special effects” in what they consider “one of the most interesting projects we’ve ever worked on”.

With the hope of being selected for NSDF, the National Student Drama Festival, this production will be a unique theatrical experience and an ideal opportunity for those yet to experience the work produced through the Warwick University Drama Society. Tickets are already on sale at £7 (£6 concessions).


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