This month, The Red Sand Castle Theatre will be showing Dinner with Goebbels, the dinner party for three figureheads of propaganda, now in its third run.
The play, a production of Act 2 Studio Works, part of a program for older adults at Ryerson Univeristy, was written by first-time playwright Mark Leith. Leith states that the production was motivated by the way in which Edward Bernays, the American nephew of Sigmund Freud, influenced Joseph Goebbels (Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda) during the Holocaust.
“Bernays used psychoanalytical tools to manipulate patients.” This in turn, helped Goebbels to develop propaganda strategies and the perpetuation of ‘The Big Lie’ — telling a lie long enough that it becomes the truth.
In addition to Goebbels and Edward Bernays, another dinner guest to make his way to the table is Karl Rove. Rove, policy analyst under George W. Bush, is one of those responsible for marketing the “War On Terror” and replacing the word “commie” with “terrorist” in a Cold War-esque scheme to set off an age of Islamaphobia and war on the Middle East.
When asked what hopes he may have for audience members in raising awareness and consciousness, Leith remarked that art as a form of social change is important, especially within the peace movement, where rallies often preach to the converted. The potential for the play as an ‘outreach tool’ is heightened by its accessibility to all, not just the politically aware.
And the timing is as relevant as ever in Harper’s Canada, where we see firsthand how propaganda is used to distort words and phrases contradicting reality such as “Fair Election Act” “Ethical Oil” and “Peace Keeping.”
Will audience members leave the production with an enhanced sense of media skepticism and a determination to be involved in systemic deconstruction and political engagement in today’s Harper Canada? They just might! But if you’re in Toronto, make sure you decide for yourself!
The production’s highly anticipated third run opens at The Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen St. E. (at Logan), Toronto on April 9, 2014, and continues April 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26 at 8:00 p.m. and April 13 and 27 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets: $18 ACT II STUDIO members /$22 general admission To buy tickets, go to www.act2studio.ca and click the online ticket tab or the link in The Dinner with Goebbels item. Tickets may also be purchased at the door. As seating is limited pre-paid reservations are strongly recommended. The play features actresses Sandra Forte, Mary Wildridge, and Cathy Shilton and is directed by Les Porter.
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