March 20, 2009

Das Kapital on stage

There are numerous productions of Das Kapital coming to a stage near you.

In Beijing (see also here): 

Drawing inspiration from a best-selling Japanese manga adaptation of Das Kapital, Chinese theater producers are planning to bring Marx's masterpiece to the stage.

Yang Shaolin, general manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, told the Wen Hui Bao that, together with Fudan University economics professor Zhang Jun and other experts, he is preparing a dramatization of Das Kapital. They've already decided on a director: He Nian, who directed the stage adaptation of the hit martial-arts spoof My Own Swordsman (武林外传).

He Nian says he will combine elements from animation, Broadway musicals, and Las Vegas stage shows to bring Marx's economic theories to life as a trendy, interesting, and educational play.

In Tokyo:

Delivering this timely staging is the cutting-edge Berlin-based Rimini Protokoll company, beloved of audiences at last year's Tokyo International Festival (TIF) for its searing exploration of the lives of model-train obsessives in Mnemopark. This time, as TIF morphs into Festival/Tokyo, the troupe is back with its 2007 masterpiece, Karl Marx: Capital, Volume I.

But there is more – look for revivals of this classic 1931 version:

As bizarre as this may sound, a theatrical Das Kapital is not an unprecedented undertaking. Japanese writer, translator, and civil servant Sakamoto Masaru (阪本勝) wrote a mammoth stage adaptation of Marx's masterpiece (戯曲資本論, 1931) that was translated into Chinese by Fei Mingjun and published in 1949 as A Dramatic Capital (戏剧资本论).

In comic books, Das Kapital is on top of the charts in Japan (see also here).

(If you are interested in experience Das Kapital in the old fashioned way – and in English translation, I recommend this volume.)

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