Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui)

by Bertolt Brecht
Chicago after the stock market crash: One crisis is followed by the next, and where can you make easy savings during an inflation? On vegetables. Even the ever-popular cauliflower is left on the shelves. Chicago’s greengrocers are desperate. Only yesterday they were well-known and confident as the world’s leading cauliflower grocers, today they have gone bankrupt.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and Chicago’s crime boss Arturo Ui smells an opportunity. He knows that profit can be found even in people’s greatest hardship and he offers to stimulate vegetable sales among the residents by means of threatening violence. Instead of taking up Arturo’s rancid deal, the noble lords of cauliflower hatch their own political plan: They convince the reputable but aged politician Dogsborough to help himself from the city’s coffers to save their vegetable establishments. But Ui knows how to use the weaknesses of others and pit them against each other. And he realises that machinations and raw violence alone are not enough to ascend further. Rhetoric and a theatrical sense for manipulating individuals as well as masses are indispensable. Whoever refuses to join Ui will suffer the consequences. Bloodshed and absolute unscrupulousness are the conclusion: Ui’s rise has been accomplished.

Bertolt Brecht wrote this parable on Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist’s ascension to power in Finland in 1941. “Arturo Ui” was to become one of the most prominent and caustic satires about a political tyrant. How can we conceive the barely conceivable: the internal contradiction of how apparently monstrous perpetrators rise up with the supported of the masses? Artists including Brecht, Tabori, Chaplin or Lubitsch have struggled with the question of how to represent this. Perpetrators as strategists in a complicated power matrix? Demagogues or nothing more than crass clowns with a talent for pleasing the masses? Brecht set his parable among US-American gangsters, an “attempt to explain Hitler’s rise to the capitalist world by transposing it into their familiar milieu”. What is the message of Brecht’s parable for us today, in the face of the rise of autocratic systems and a simultaneous increase in nationalism, corruption and inequality?

Nuran David Calis is a director, author and film maker. Beside his productions of classic theatre texts, he is considered to be an expert for documentary theatre formats with political topics. These productions include “Die Lücke – Ein Stück Keupstraße”, which featured witnesses of the 2004 nail bomb attack by the so-called National Socialist Underground on stage at Schauspiel Köln, and “NSU 2.0” at Schauspiel Frankfurt. Following “Der Besuch der alten Dame”, “Arturo Ui” is his fifth production at Schauspiel Leipzig.
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Premiere on 13.10.2023
Große Bühne

Dates Schauspiel Leipzig Bosestraße 1, 04109 Leipzig
Thu, 29.08. 19:30 — 22:15
Revival, Theatre day, Audio description, with english surtitles
Große Bühne Schauspiel Leipzig Bosestraße 1, 04109 Leipzig
Thu, 03.10. 19:30 — 22:15
Große Bühne Schauspiel Leipzig Bosestraße 1, 04109 Leipzig
Fri, 13.12. 19:30 — 22:15
Große Bühne Schauspiel Leipzig Bosestraße 1, 04109 Leipzig
Sun, 12.01. 19:30 — 22:15
Audio description, for the last time!
Große Bühne

Further dates in planning


ca. 2:45, one break


Bettina Schmidt as Arturo Ui
Roman Kanonik as Ernesto Roma / Dockdaisy
Michael Pempelforth as Guiseppe Givola
Annett Sawallisch as Emanuele Giri
Markus Lerch as Der Ansager / Sheet / O'Casey / Ein Schauspieler / Ignatius Dullfeet
Denis Grafe as Clark / Der Ankläger
Anne Cathrin Buhtz as Flake / Judge / Betty Dullfeet (alternating)
Yves Hinrichs as Butcher / Verteidiger
Andreas Keller as Dogsborough
Luca-Noél Bock as Der Sohn Dogsboroughs / Fish der Angeklagte / Inna
Aicha-Maria Bracht


Director: Nuran David Calis
Stage: Irina Schicketanz
Costume design: Johanna Stenzel
Music: Vivan Bhatti
Dramaturgy: Benjamin Große
Light: Ralf Riechert
Video: Kai Schadeberg
Sound design: Anko Ahlert
stage management: Jens Glanze
Soufflage: Philine von Engelhardt
Directing assistance: Lukas Leon Krüger
Stage design assistance: Sabine Born
Costume assistance: Maryna Ianina
Mask: Kerstin Wirrmann, Kathrin Heine, Donka Holeček, Cordula Kreuter, Julia Markow, Barbara Zepnick
Props: Steffen Schädel-Mechsner
Stage master: Patrick Ernst
Directing and dramaturgy internship: Sven Beck, Pepe Vogel
Stage design internship: Rosa Herdemanns
Costume design internship: Marie Ullrich
Audio Description: Maila Giesder-Pempelforth, Matthias Huber, Ina Klose, Renate Lehmann
Theatre pedagogy: Amelie Gohla