Carleton Players present the 1940s satire, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui”

October 15, 2017

The Carleton Players will present Bertolt Brecht’s 1940s satire, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” premiering Friday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity Theater. Subtitled “A parable play,” additional performances will be held Oct. 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.

Who do you call when you need protection? Arturo Ui. But who do you call when you need protection from Arturo Ui? Chicago, 1930s: the “Cauliflower Trust” is making a move to conquer the vegetable trade when petty criminal Arturo Ui concocts his protection racket. After a reign of terror, Ui emerges as an undisputed mob boss and king of the vegetable monopoly.

Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” is much more than a simple gangland comedy, however. Written in the early 1940s, the play is also a thinly veiled allegory of the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich, told through the borrowed plot of Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” Not least, it is a cautionary tale of unchecked political ambition and power—a reminder for our own times that our own Arturo Ui’s are resistible.

Following the Oct. 22 matinee performance, audience members are invited to stay for a discussion of the play and its implications for today, especially with regard to questions of political power, authority, and fascism. Paul Petzschmann, lecturer and research associate in European studies, will introduce some influential definitions of authoritarianism and provide an intellectual framework for the issues raised in the play, while Players director and professor of Theater Roger Bechtel and select members of the Carleton Players ensemble will join the conversation about the production.

Admission is free but reservations are encouraged. To reserve seats, visit online at

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Department of Theater and Dance. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4531. The Weitz Center for Creativity is located at 320 Third Street in Northfield.