Infernal Bridegroom Productions Presents Bertolt Brecht’s BAAL (2004)
The most beautiful thing is: Nothing. -Bertolt Brecht
In Bertolt Brecht’s first play, written at the age of 20, Baal is a drunk, sexually carnivorous poet and singer who is ruthless, selfish, and not above any action in his quest for personal pleasure….
.. In IBP’s production, Kyle Sturdivant stars in the title role. A longtime IBP company member, Sturdivant’s recent performance as Jean in IBP’s production of Eugene Ionseco’s Rhinoceros earned him the designation of one of the best reasons to go to the theater this year (Houston Press). In the true ensemble spirit that this script demands, he is joined by an all-star cast of IBP veterans.
Written with the abandon and passion that can only come with youth, BAAL is pure poetry from start to finish. And with Infernal Bridegroom Productions’ passion for adventurous theater, Houstonians once again have a chance to see a work few in town would dare tackle.
Born in Germany at the very end of the 19th century, Bertolt Brecht was a sickly child who suffered a heart attack at the age of 12 and dropped out of school at age 19. He eventually returned to his studies, attending medical school in Munich where he began work on BAAL. Sexually adventurous and often taking lovers of both genders, many of Brecht’s own experiences as a libertine are reflected in the character of BAAL. Brecht worked briefly as a hospital orderly and newspaper theater critic before moving to Berlin, where he wrote Mother Courage and The Good Woman of Sezuan, among other works. His pieces tended to pull from multiple sources, including Chinese and Japanese theater and from other German playwrights.
In 1933 he fled his homeland (his citizenship was later revoked by the Nazis) and spent the next two decades living in Denmark, Sweden, and the United States, where he collaborated with other German exiles living in Los Angeles. In the late 1940s the House Committee for Un-American Activities started investigating, subversive activities, in Hollywood. Brecht fled the country the day after his presence was requested before the committee and traveled to East Berlin. There, he worked with the Berliner Ensemble and developed his own unique style of epic theater.
Brecht died in 1956 while working on a response to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. He requested a stiletto be placed in his heart and that he be buried in a steel coffin so that his corpse would not be riddled with worms.
Co-directed by IBP’s artistic director Anthony Barilla and associate artistic director Tamarie Cooper, BAAL features a large cast of IBP company members and friends. Company member Kyle Sturdivant is in the title role of BAAL, and IBP company member and artistic consultant Charlie Scott will play the part of Ekart. Cooper, who is also designing the costumes, plays the role of Sophie Barger. The set is designed by Tim Thompson. Company member Kirk Markley consulted on the design. Company member David Gipson is the light designer and Barilla is the sound designer as well as composer.
opens November 18 and runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays open-ended. There will be no performance on Thanksgiving, November 25.
Friday, December 3
Saturday, December 4
Thursday, December 9
Friday, December 10
Saturday, December 11
Friday, December 17
All performances are at 8:00 pm. Tickets for a special preview party and performance on November 17 at 6:30 pm are $35. Opening weekend ticket prices are just $5.99.
Remaining ticket prices are $10 on Thursdays, $12 on Fridays, and $15 on Saturdays. BAAL is being presented at the Axiom.