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Baal of desire

Baal Of Desire

Ben Stout

Acting I

Todd McNerney


On Thursday, November 7, I saw a performance of Baal, written by Bertolt

Brecht and directed by Evan Parry. The play was not an emotional play, but an

intellectual play. It caused the viewer to think about the existentialist nature

of Brecht's writing and the underlying meaning of the play. Although I have

studied existentialism and followed the play intently, I still could not fully

understand what Brecht was trying to say through Baal. My interpretation is that

Baal represents man and his desires and what those desires can lead to.

At the beginning of the play, Baal is in good spirits and loved by all.

He has doors open to him; he is asked to publish his poetry and sing his songs

at a bar. Through the play, his life gradually becomes worse because he drinks

too much and has many girlfriends. People start to dislike him and he loses his

apartment. Then more and more people start to dislike him and he moves from job

to job and location to location with nothing but Ekart to see him through. But

then he realizes that he is finally in love - with Ekart, but she doesn't love

him and makes it obvious by having other men and women in her life. So, Baal

kills her since he can't have her for his own. By the end, Baal has nothing but

himself to blame for his condition. His drinking problem and his problem of

seducing every woman he meets drives him to his death, and causes everyone to

repudiate him.

The acting ranged from not-so-great to very good. The only problem was

that since not all the actor's names were used, it was difficult to figure out

who was who in most cases.

Baal, played by Robert Seay, was in the very good part of the spectrum.

The amount of lined he had to memorize was great and he didn't stumble on them

once. His emotion was clear throughout the play and his focus was obvious. The

way he played drunk was great; his hair and shirt were disheveled, but he wasn't

stumbling all over the place and slurring his words. He acted just like a drunk

person trying his hardest to pretend to be sober. When he spoke you understood

what he was feeling and saying because he spoke clearly, slowly and loudly which

helps, but he also understood what he was saying, which helped the audience

understand what he was feeling. At the end, when he was dying, the audience

understood that he was dying alone, with nobody to help him through and that his

life had held no meaning. The audience knew this because of his actions and

because of the tone of his voice.

Ekart was also very good. In the beginning, when she was trying to

persuade Baal to sleep with her, she was seductive and conniving. She tempted

him to leave the woman who he made leave her husband for, but Baal resisted. Her

tone of voice was what I found to be her greatest asset because it told so much

about her. Her tone of voice made her objectives clear. Whenever she spoke, I

found what she wanted to be clear. Her movement was comfortable onstage which

made it easier to watch her. It was easier because since she was comfortable, I

wanted to follow what she was doing at all times. When she was with Baal, she

acted indifferent, and when she wasn't with Baal, it was obvious that she didn't

care for him as much as he did for her because she was not faithful to him. In

the end, she acted the same way Baal did at the beginning. And the way she did

it was with precision, she indulged in whatever she did, just like Baal. I felt

that Ekart's acting was very good because she was understandable and easy to


The girls who shared words in sentences were also very good. The way

they followed each other and the way they made their voices to sound the same

was what pleased me the most. There were no uncomfortable silences in between

what each girl said, which meant that they were very well prepared. If they

weren't as prepared, they wouldn't have been able to follow each other as well.

Their preparation was also quite clear because there were no uncomfortable

spaces in between what each girl said. They did not have much physical acting to

do, but the way they used their voices and the way they followed each other so

well impressed me.

The acting in Baal was good; the acting ranged from the priest, who wasn'

t all that great to Baal, Ekart and the chorus girls who were great. I found

Baal to be interesting and realize the acting was difficult to take on, but it

was obvious who prepared the best for the play. Those who were prepared were

good, but those who weren't either didn't have a good performance or didn't warm

up until late in the play. Overall, I felt the acting and the play were both


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