By: Jonathan Levin  | 

Yeshiva College Dramatics Society to Perform ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ This Week

The Yeshiva College Dramatics Society (YCDS) will perform their annual play at the Schottenstein Theatre on Wilf Campus this week.

“The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” written in 1941, follows a 1930s-era Chicago mobster who attempts to gain control of Chicago’s cauliflower industry and parallels Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Directed by Professor Reuven Russel, with Rami Levin (YC ‘24) as YCDS president and Yosef Bluth (YC ‘24) as stage manager, the play will be performed Monday through Thursday at 7 p.m. 

Tickets, with student pricing costing $5, as well regular, alumni and sponsorship pricing, are available online.

17 students are acting in the play, with nine others filling backstage roles, including makeup, costume design, lighting and props. The cast has been rehearsing five days a week leading up to the play.

“The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” was written by Bertolt Brecht, a German playwright who wrote over three dozen plays. Forced to flee Germany for Denmark due to his anti-Nazi leanings  — which he did the day after the Reichstag was ravaged by fire in February 1933, an event the Nazi party seized upon to persecute their political opponents  — Brecht eventually composed “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” in Finland while waiting to immigrate to the United States.

Written for an American audience, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” is a parable paralleling Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1930s Germany. Many of the characters in the play are modeled off political actors in Wiemar and Nazi Germany, including Hitler, German President Paul von Hindenburg, director of the SA Ernst Röhm, Luftwafa head Hermann Goering and chief Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels. 

Russel, who has directed “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” on two previous occasions, suggested the play to the YCDS board, which voted in favor of selecting it in January.

“It was a tough board decision,” said Levin. “Personally, I want YCDS to be a platform to tell fundamentally Jewish stories. It wasn't just the anti-Nazi overtones that I liked about Ui, but the theme encapsulated by the Pasuk in Sefer Vayika 19:16, "Lo ta’amod al dam re’echa"  — Do not stand by the blood of your neighbor. That's at the heart of this play and why I was in favor of it.”

Besides the anti-Nazi and Jewish themes in the play, the play was also chosen to build up YCDS, Levin told The Commentator.

“Because of the flexible cast size,” said Levin, “we could accommodate many new actors. I knew that to build YCDS up, we need to have as many people involved, and so I'm happy with this place.”

YCDS performs a play every spring semester, and cast members can receive up to two credits for their roles. 

YCDS previously performed “Oldtimer Game” in Spring 2022. The club did not run performances in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Photo Caption: The Yeshiva College Dramatics Society (YCDS) will perform their annual play at the Schottenstein Theatre, located in the Schottenstein Center on Wilf Campus, this week.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons