UCT Drama to Present Mnouchkine's MEPHISTO Next Month
The University of Cape Town Drama Department will present MEPHISTO by Ariane Mnouchkine translated by Timberlake Wertenbaker at the Arena Theatre (at 37 Orange Street, Gardens) next month. Directed by Christopher Weare, a large cast of graduating students bring this exciting production to the stage.
MEPHISTO is a modern classic dealing with artistic integrity and political commitment, and raised interesting contemporary questions. Klaus Mann's novel, upon which the play is based, was first published when Mann was in exile from the Nazis and was primarily an act of revenge against German actor Gustaf Grundgens. Mann, who worked with Grundgens, regarded him as a traitor for accepting Nazi patronage while his former colleagues were forced to flee the country.
Mnouchkine's adaptation takes the emphasis off the "Mephisto" character who abandoned his communist roots for artistic ambition and collaborated with the Nazi regime, and places it onto the group of actors around him. We see a collection of socialists and incipient fascists, and watch how they react to Hitler's steady climb to power. Where does art stop and life begin? The question is vital, and fatal to them all. Mnouchkine has said she sees the work more as a metaphor about collaboration than as an indictment of a particular actor.
MEPHISTO runs from from 1 - 11 April 2014, with performances starting at 7.30pm. Bookings can be made through Webtickets.