|Written by Bertolt Brecht|
Setting vaguely British India
Playwright Bertolt Brecht
Place premiered Darmstadt
|Genre Epic comedy|
First performance 25 September 1926
Original language German language
|Date premiered 25 September 1926 (1926-09-25)|
Similar Bertolt Brecht plays, Other plays
Man equals man actor interviews
Man Equals Man (German: Mann ist Mann), or A Man's a Man, is a play by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. One of Brecht's earlier works, it explores themes of war, human fungibility, and identity.
As with his earlier In the Jungle (1923), which was set in Chicago, Brecht locates the drama in what was for his German audience an exotic setting, British colonial India. Man Equals Man presents the forcible transformation of a civilian, Galy Gay, into the perfect soldier. Using Kiplingesque imagery (as with In the Jungle, though, thanks to Elisabeth Hauptmann's command of English, in a more authentic tone now), Brecht explores personality as something that can be dismantled and reassembled like a machine, in a parable that critic Walter Kerr credited with a "curious foreshadowing of the art of brainwashing." The same characters exist in the short interlude The Elephant Calf.
The play was first staged by two provincial theatres in Düsseldorf and Darmstadt, opening first in the latter on 25 September 1926. This production was directed by Jacob Geis, with set-design by Caspar Neher. Ernst Legal (who was the director of the Landestheater where the play was produced) played Galy Gay.
The play offers an "intermission piece" called "The Elephant Calf". It is a one-act surrealistic farce that has Galy Gay making his return as a baby elephant accused of murdering its mother.
In March 1927 an adaptation of the play was broadcast by Radio Berlin's new drama department, with an introductory note in Der deutsche Rundfunk describing it as "the most powerful and original stage play of our time."
Man equals man part 1
In current publication, the Arcade edition was translated from Brecht's final revision in 1954 by Gerhard Nellhaus (and by Brecht himself, who made his own English version of the first scene) . The Bentley translation is based on public domain material of 1926, many years before Brecht finished revising the play.
In 1931, Brecht himself directed the play, in Berlin starring Peter Lorre.
In early 2014 the Classic Stage Company in New York City will produce the play. Brian Kulick is directing the production, and Duncan Sheik composed instrumental and vocal music. The cast includes Jason Babinsky, Justin Vivian Bond as Widow Begbik, Gibson Frazier, Martin Moran, Steven Skybell, Stephen Spinella, Ching Valdes-Aran as Mr. Wang, Allan K. Washington and Andrew Weems.