KU News Release

March 18, 2011
Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, 785-864-2684

University Theatre to stage ‘Man Equals Man’

More Information

LAWRENCE — University Theatre at the University of Kansas will present Bertolt Brecht’s drama “Man Equals Man,” the first Brecht production it has staged in more than 20 years, at 7:30 p.m. April 7-9 and 13-16 and at 2:30 p.m. April 10 in the William Inge Memorial Theatre in Murphy Hall.

Mechele Leon, associate professor of theatre and artistic director of the University Theatre, directs the dark comedy. Scenic designer is Mark Reaney, professor of theatre; lighting designer is Phillip Schroeder, a graduate student from Olathe; costume designer is Elahe Marjovi, a graduate student from Tehran, Iran; sound designer is Jeff List, a doctoral student from Bowling Green, Ohio; and slide designer is James Diemer, a doctoral student from Carbondale, Ill.

Written when Brecht was in his 20s and before his immersion in socialism, “Man Equals Man” remains one of his most interesting and complex plays, Leon said. Not only was the play the first to emerge after Brecht’s move from Munich to Berlin, but it was also the first to be produced by what came to be known as “the Brecht collective.”

According to scholars who study Brecht, he rewrote the play as many as 10 times from 1924 to 1938, beginning with an early version in 1920 titled “Galgei.” Most notable among the revisions was the one Brecht directed at the Staatstheatre in Berlin in which Peter Lorre played the main character, Galy Gay.

“Resembling nothing less than a slapstick comedy, this play challenges our most personal and sacred questions of individuality, presenting selfhood as a commodity to be bought and sold in the economies of love and war,” Leon said.

In the play, a simple man leaves his wife one morning on an errand to buy a fish. Three soldiers, who have lost their fourth squad mate, waylay him and convince him to put on a uniform and impersonate their missing man. When the squad is called up to battle, they must take Galy with them and so engage in deceptions to strip him permanently of his identity, deceptions including implicating him in the sale of a contraband elephant. When Galy becomes a killing machine, he massacres an entire village in murderous zeal.

“All this is presented in a style that is deliberately parodic and theatrical,” Leon said. “The passions are exaggerated, the orientalism obvious and the soldiers as unrealistic as their plastic guns.”

General admission tickets for “Man Equals Man” are on sale in the KU ticket offices: University Theatre, 864-3982, and Lied Center, 864-ARTS, and online at kutheatre.com. Tickets are $15 for the public, $10 for students and $14 from senior citizens and KU faculty and staff. All major credit cards are accepted for phone and online orders.

Members of the cast for the KU production are listed below by hometown, level in school, major, parents’ names, high school and role.

From Lawrence 66046
Kyle J. Tichenor, senior in theatre; Brian and Bobbi Tichenor; Lawrence Free State High School; Polly Baker.

From Shawnee 66217
Claire L. Vowels, junior in theatre; Phillip Vowels and Kathy and Mark Stone; Shawnee Mission West High School; Widow Begbick.

From Lansing 66043
Jenny Curatola, sophomore in theatre and English; John and Deb Curatola; Lansing High School; Mrs. Galy Gay.

From McPherson 67460
Lindsey Roesti, freshman in theatre; Michael and Janet Roesti; McPherson High School; Wang.

From Paola 66071
Brian Laurence Buntin, freshman in theatre; Louis and Sandra Buntin; Paola High School; Jeraiah Jip.

From Salina 67401
Mike Claman, sophomore in engineering physics; John and Cheryln Claman; Salina Central High School; Fairchild, aka Bloody Five the Human Typhoon.

Marilyn Haines, senior in theatre and Russian; Bob and Linda German and Jeff Haines; Bennington High School; Mah Sing and Spectacular Others.

From Topeka 66614
Charlie Stock, junior in theatre; Mark Stock and Sally Fox; Washburn Rural High School; Jesse Mahoney.

From Kansas City 66109
Chris Teters, junior in computer science; Elliott and Susan Teters; Piper High School; Uriah Shelly.

From Grand Island 68803
Ryan Matthew Lueders, junior in theatre; Gary and Doreen Lueders; Grand Island Northwest High School; Galy Gay.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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