Online Hubbub: The Communist Dracula Pageant, Thursday, October 30, 2008

What did this play make you think about?

“Of course, the play brought to mind the incredible suffering inflicted on the Romanian people by Ceausescu, but I thought that the reflection of him on the Vlad/Dracula character enhanced the poignancy of this, while also revealing an historical precedent for brutally ignoring the plight of one’s own people.”—Bruce D.

“Ionesco and the theater of the absurd.”—anonymous

“Dracula, Ceausescu, madness, deception, dictators, absurdity.”—Roy D.

Where were you when the Iron Curtain fell?  When the Berlin Wall came down?  What are your memories?

“In New York in the insanity that was the magazine industry. It all seemed surreal to be doing something so completely vapid in light of genocide and such monumental milestones for humanity.”—anonymous

“I was here at Harvard when the Berlin Wall came down, and right away I received a fax from a long-time friend in Germany with a newspaper (actually, the tabloid Bildzietung) front page on the event: Die Mauer ist weg! Berlin ist wiedetr Berlin! (The Wall is Gone! Berlin is once again Berlin!).  In 1972, he and I had a picnic in Lower Saxony, in view of the border fence separating East and West.  Like most, I never imagined that barrier coming down so soon, or even in my lifetime.  Now it’s 19 years ago.”—Bruce D.

“I remember Christmas of 1989 seeing the photographs of the corpses on the front page of the newspaper.”—Roy D.

Ceausescu’s fantasies created a reality for the Romanian people.  Have you ever had your reality shaped by someone else’s fantasies?

“No, and I hope I never do.  I took a course back in school taught by Noam Chomsky on propaganda, politics and the news–I’ve never understood how people can allow themselves, like the Germans in WWII to be manipulated by any individual’s vision of a parallel universe utopia; or to accept what they know not to be true.”—anonymous

“Certainly.  For example, academic leaders with a certain “vision”.”—Bruce D.

“Hell yeah. I’m an American in 2008. Take a look around at everyone else’s fantasy.”—Roy D.

What else would you like to say about the play?

“I liked the pageantry and socialist realism aspects displayed on the stage.  There really were things like that.”—Bruce D.

“I went with my friend who grew up under Ceausescu, and actually knew some of the players depicted. She said it was funny, sad, and pretty accurate.”—Roy D.

“I thought it was great, but unfinished. One of the weaker of the more recent ART performances, in some ways-but definitely thought-provoking, interesting, funny, and full of potential.”—anonymous

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