The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising

The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising

East Berlin, June 17, 1953: The workers’ uprising is seething in the streets; on stage, the “Boss”—artist and man of the theatre, a figure clearly modeled on Bertold Brecht—is rehearsing his new production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.

At the close of this scene, a delegation of the rebelling workers enters to ask the Boss for his support. He hesitates, clings to the stage and the problems of interpreting Coriolanus and Rome’s plebeians—he doubts his countrymen’s passion and ability and foresees the failure of the revolution. When, finally, he joins in, the uprising is already collapsing, smashed by the Russian tanks.

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Lima