On today’s show, we dive into the life and work of German playwright Bertolt Brecht, including his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947. Fermat’s Last Theater Company in Madison is currently staging a production about Brecht’s HUAC testimony called Singing in the Dark Times. Allen is joined in the studio today by director David Simmons and historians Paul Buhle and Marc Silberman to shed some light on Brecht and the artist’s responsibility to speak truth to power.
David Simmons founded Fermat’s Last Theater Company in 2013. He is the director of Singing in the Dark Times: The Many Trials of Bertolt Brecht. The performance takes place at Arts + Literature Laboratory (2021 Winnebago St, Madison) Wednesday through Friday, August 8–10 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, August 12 at 2:00 pm. All performances are free and open to the public.
Paul Buhle is founder of the journal Radical America and the archive Oral History of the American Left. He is co-editor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left.
Marc Silberman is a professor emeritus from the German department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research focuses on Bertolt Brecht and the tradition of political theater, along with East German literature and culture.