- Created: Tuesday, 01 October 2013 22:12
- Written by Hannah Caller
Directed by Comrade Sergio Amigo with Daniel Kelly as Karl
Wednesday to Sundays till 13 October
The Calder Bookshop and Theatre, 51 The Cut, London SE1 8LF
Tickets £10 (£8 concessions) To reserve a ticket call 020 7620 2900
Also two nights at The Marx Memorial Library
Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 October 7pm
37A Clerkenwell Green, London, Greater London EC1R 0DU
Howard Zinn’s play has Marx fighting in heaven for the right to return to Soho (unfortunately he ends up in New York Soho rather than his old London haunts) and prove that his ideas are not dead but still relevant in the 21st century. ‘Why must they declare me dead, again and again?’ He is allowed only an hour on earth and a wonderful hour of theatre it is.
In this one-man play, Marx is presented as a flesh and blood person with his passion for justice still blazing and his boils still making sitting down painful. The play is witty and entertaining but also does not shy away from addressing important political points. Marx defends Das Kapital and points out that modern capitalism has resulted in an ever greater concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. He points out that when he lived in London he would walk back from the British Library and see poverty and desperation, and remarks that in the 21st century, he still sees homeless people on the streets, still sees filth and bad air, still sees wars and profiteering. He admits that his timing of the end of capitalism was a little off but is optimistic that it will come.
The reflections on his life with his wife, Jenny and their children, especially Eleanor, are very moving. Their poverty and lack of necessities meant a daily struggle for the family, especially for Jenny who nevertheless still took part in political life.
His stories of the anarchist Bakunin are very funny - Marx and the enormous, toothless Bakunin arguing and fighting as they tackled questions about class struggle and the outcome of the proletarian revolution. Marx laughingly asserts that he is not a Marxist and is at his most eloquent when talking about the Paris Commune, a moment when men and women organised their own lives.
The actor, Daniel Kelly brings Marx to life with energy and commitment in Sergio Amigo’s production. Howard Zinn, the US socialist historian, has left us this excellent play and this is a rare opportunity to see it. I urge everyone to go.
- Hannah Caller