an original play about the women
in the life and work of brecht
Co-Produced with The Theatre Centre
Ruth Madoc-Jones, Camille Stube, Stephanie Morgenstern
Brebner, Dey, Mills, Smith-McGregor
Joanne Dente, Michelle Ramsay
Developed at Rhubarb! + Nightwood Theatre
A romp through the outrageous lives of Ruth Berlau, Margarete Steffin, Helene Weigel, Elizabeth Hauptmann. In this modern day Lehrstück Brecht's own epic theatre unmasks his feminine side in life, work, and love as the women behind some of the greatest hits of 20th century drama leap out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
“Franco Boni’s choice of the double bill Beckett & Brecht to re-launch the new Theatre Centre is inspired ...a good show, in fact, a thrilling one. Bébé- The Women Behind Brecht, conceived and directed by Jennifer Capraru, is the sordid tale of a male genius supported by devoted brilliant woman who get little thanks for their efforts. The stunning new play, Bébé ...uses Brecht’s own alienation technique, and Kurt Weill-like songs, to portray four fascinating muses/lovers caught in the Brecht machine.“ - CLASSICAL 96 FM Radio
"Lively and poignant....edgy and has a bite of anger....the acting is strong. What fuels Bébé is Brecht's penchant for using a succession of female lovers as collaborators while keeping the lion's share of the credit and money tohimself ...These co-writers, collaborators and contributors add up to 12 ...and that's just words and lyrics."
- Toronto Star
"An admirable profusion of female talent on and off stage...As the once-carefully controlled material from the Brecht-Archiv becomes available to scholars and to directors with the brains and curiosity of Capraru, our understanding not just of Brecht, but of the women whose ideas he has accredited to himself is changing... BéBé is, therefore, unashamedly and in Brechtian fashion, a Lehrstück (a teaching play). Further, it uses the collaborative, collective method of creation and "Epic theatre" alienation techniques "credited" to Brecht. Capraru and company - among co-creators and performers are the always-commanding Ruth Madoc-Jones and the ethereal Camille Stubel have a mission to give credit where it has been denied."
- Globe and Mail
“The program is a perfect fit. Fine actors are involved ...I recommend it ...it’s important to appreciate the dedication of theatre artists who are not afraid to experiment. How can you not love that.” - CBC Radio
“Bébé engrosses its audience with inspired voyeurism, part intellectual and part sensational, which is the most entertaining kind of theatrical marriage. Brecht fans as well as those who aren't familiar with his work will love the animal intensity of the man, who had the capability of seducing the brightest women in the artistic circles of his day with a heady mix of romance and blatant sex appeal and stole their ideas and expertise with not even a backward glance. But when all is said in done, it was Brecht's all-encompassing talent, a lot of it at the expense of others, which is the heart of Bébé. By the end of the play, we also know his women ...Most impressive are Sarah Mennel's intelligent Hauptman and Stephanie Morgenstern's sexually naive but fiery Steffin. Both actors are so sincere you want to shake them out of their complicity in being a willing co-habitant of Brecht's harem ...Camille Stubel portrays Weigel with a mix of compassion and steeliness as Brecht's crafty business manager and later director of the Berliner Ensemble ...Ruth Madoc-Jones plays Berlau like a film siren totally committed to her own image until she meets her match ...Capraru has directed Bébé like an actual 1920's production ...well served by Dente's atmospheric costumes, the show looks good. It gives us a rare look at the enormous cost it took to nurture Brecht's genius and the price his women paid for the honor.” - Scene Changes