Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage presents two performances of Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” February 25-26

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Canadian Stage is pleased to confirm today that they will be presenting two in-person public performances of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre on Berkeley Street on February 25 and 26. As previously announced, this workshop production is an extension of the company’s innovative BMO Lab Residency Program, run in partnership with the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto, and first launched in 2020.

The production is adapted and directed by celebrated German director and actor Johanna Schall (also Bertolt Brecht’s granddaughter) and features Canadian Stage veteran actor Carly Street in the role of Arturo Ui. Street is joined on stage by BMO Lab Residency alumni Sebastian Heins and Ryan Cunningham, performers Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, Darcy Gerhart and James Hyett, and University of Toronto students Teodora Djuric, Adrian Pavone, Valerio Greganti and Sina Sasanifard. David Rokeby is Director of the BMO Lab, while the 2021-22 BMO Lab Artist in Residence is Bronwen Sharp. The BMO Lab Residency Program is a unique paid opportunity that embeds professional artists in a graduate-level, interdisciplinary course environment. In the program, residents immerse themselves with the Lab’s technologies and research possibilities for application to live theatre performance.

We are thrilled to be moving forward with presenting two live performances of this workshop production with our wonderful partners on the BMO Lab Residency Program at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto,” says Canadian Stage Associate Artistic Director Mel Hague. “Extending an already quite innovative and enriching residency with a production that both puts study into practice and also brings in the incredibly important element of a live audience, undoubtedly deepens the experience for participants in the program and is a wonderful opportunity to share process with our audience community as well.”

“This production evolved naturally out of our ongoing collaboration with Canadian Stage,” adds David Rokeby, Director, BMO Lab. “In our program we explore the potentials and challenges that new technologies present for performance practice. Arturo Ui is a particularly interesting vehicle through which to explore these questions, both because Brecht himself was very interested in the technologies of his time, and because of the way our contemporary technologies participate in the mechanisms responsible for the current political climate, mirroring as it does, in unsettling ways, the conditions that Brecht was commenting on in this play.”

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui was written in Finland in 1941 over a period of three weeks while the author and his family hoped and waited for their US-visas to escape the fast-approaching armies of Nazi-Germany. The play – a satirical allegory - describes the rise of Hitler through the parable of a gangster in Chicago during the Great Depression. While the two lead characters were written as men, in this production two women rise to conquer a city and – maybe - the world.

Originally intended for American audiences, the play did not get a theatrical release there and was first produced in 1958 in Germany. A comedy of horrors, a parable, a thriller full of surprising turns, a love story, a grandiose play on words. We meet bankers and gangsters, crooks big and small, greed and crime in a tight embrace. We observe countless murders without any consequences for the killers. We see how economic interests translate into criminal actions and how fake news transforms into political dogma.

A limited number of free tickets for the February 25th and 26th performances of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui are available now at

Illustration: Cover of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. © 2013 Blooomsbury Methuen Drama.