Theater: Ecstasies & Agonies

Brecht on Brecht. The phone is a coiled snake, and the woman (Viveca Lindfors) picks it up fatalistically, as if she had already been poisoned by its venom. Her manner is calm, but her voice is brittle with inner hysteria. She cancels a bridge date, calls off a movie date. The talk is bright and chatty, but these are not social calls. The woman is foreclosing her life.

She is Jewish. Her husband is an important German surgeon, and in Hitler's Germany, things have become "too difficult." She has decided to leave him "for a couple of weeks." Animatedly, she enacts...

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