Baal is pure pleasure principle.

 
Baal is Bertolt Brecht’s first full length play. He wrote it  1918 when he was 20 years old, long before he became "Brecht" and long before his future ideas about Epic Theatre had been fully formed. It was written at a time of great revolt in Germany – WW1 had just ended and the Weimer Republic was about to be formed. It was written at a time when European artists wanted to revolt and had much to say about their society and their time. So,  Baal is wild and raucous and full of the vitality and fire of youth.
It is Director, Simon Stone’s, job to bring this play into the 21st century and he will, no doubt do so, with the usual focus and fearlessness he adopts for all of his projects. Stone, and his collective the Hayloft Project, have been rebels in the artistic form for many years. Their productions, Thyestes, 3xSisters, The Suicide and The Only Child have challenged and excited audiences and this project promises to be no different.
As well as directing, Stone also acted as Baal translator so was heavily involved in forming the vision of the play from its very foundation – the words. He is very much aware of the importance youth plays in this work and has gathered together a mighty cast including Brigid Gallacher, Geraldine Hakewill, Luisa Hastings Edge, Shelly Lauman, Oscar Redding, Chris Ryan, Lotte St Clair, Katherine Tonkin and Thomas M Wright as Baal.
 
"The play is performed by a great ensemble of the best young actors in Australia," Stone says. "And the music is composed and sound designed by Stefan Gregory who is an extraordinary young musician."
 
Baal is described as nihilistic, hedonistic and amoral. Baal himself is a gutter poet and anti-hero who rejects the conventions and trappings of his bourgeois society. He is a busy boy who roams the countryside, womanizing and brawling and attending strip joints and cabaret, where he entertains his friends and fans with coarse, bawdy songs. He seduces Johanna, who subsequently drowns herself. He spurns his pregnant mistress, Sophie, and abandons her. He murders his friend Ekart, becoming a fugitive from the police. The consequences for Baal are great but he does have lot of fun along the way!
 
Stone’s textual support partner in the project, Tom Wright, is also extremely passionate about this story and message. "The thing about Baal as a character is that he represents the kind of belief, the romantic ideal, that an artist is given licence to do whatever he or she likes," he says. "It’s free and energetic and it’s youthful and it’s about landscape. It’s a great provocative dream."
 
Stone finishes by adding: " Baal will provide an exciting insight into the young mind nowadays and, basically, just the world will feel like youth coming to terms with the adult world that they’re coming into. Baal has nudity.Baal is repulsive in some moments and seductive in others. To be either is to be both."
 
BAAL SEASON DETAILS
VENUE: Merlyn Theatre, the Cub Malthouse, 113 Sturt St., Southbank Vic 3006.
SEASON: 2 – 23 April. BOOKING INFO:WWW.Malthousetheatre.com.au/0396855111
TICKET PRICES: $21 – $55

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