[OPE-L] Marx in Soho with Jerry Levy

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Mon Feb 27 2006 - 09:06:57 EST

No relation./ In solidarity, Jerry


Interactivist Info Exchange | Howard Zinn's "Marx in Soho" with Jerry
Levy, New York City, March 31 & April 1, 2006

                  Howard Zinn's Play "Marx in Soho" with Jerry Levy
                  Two Benefit Performances for Autonomedia
                  New York City, March 31 & April 1, 2006

                  Imagine all Karl Marx would have to say after one
hundred years of just being able to watch...

                    "By showing us Marx the man, Zinn poignantly humanizes
him. By showing us Marx the theorist, Zinn gently
educates us. And by bringing Marx into today's era,
Zinn cleverly and unmistakably argues the relevance of
Marx's ideas in our time." - Backstage West
                    "Zinn has crafted a stirring, funny play that delves
into the true meaning of Marxism." - LA Weekly

                    "Whatever your leanings, it's hard not to come out of
this show stirred and stimulated." - San Francisco Bay

                    "Engaging and charismatic" -Washington Post

                  Howard Zinn's "Marx in Soho" portrays the return of Marx
roughly a century after his death. Embedded in some
secular afterlife where intellectuals, artists, and
radicals are sent, Marx is given permission by the
administrative committee to return to Soho London to
have his say. But through a bureaucratic mix-up, he
winds up in SOHO in New York. From there the audience is
given a rare glimpse of a Marx seldom talked about; Marx
the man. The play offers an entertaining and thorough
introduction to a person who knows little about Marx's
life, while also offering valuable insight to students
of his ideas.
                  Howard Zinn asks, "Was Marx a Marxist?" Marx alone
occupies Zinn's stage. "Marx has different voices. The
actor has to show Marx's outrage at social injustice,
express the pedantic Marx, the vindictive Marx, Marx,
the loving family man, Marx as humorist, and a Marx that
can laugh at his enemies."

                  Author of A People's History of the United States,
Howard Zinn humanizes the man behind the ideas in "Marx
In Soho"; casting a divergent light from the
totalitarian movements his theories have often been
associated with. Responding to the fall of the Soviet
Union and the conventional perception that Marx's ideas
are dead, Zinn resurrects this controversial historical
figure, embraces democracy and passionately rejects the
ideological rigidity of many of his followers with the
phrase "I am not a Marxist." Instead we come to know
Marx as a complex character struggling to survive with
his family as an impoverished immigrant in London. Marx
returns to clear his name and tell us about his life
with his wife, daughters, friends and enemies. In
poignant , funny, and intimate narrative, Zinn convinces
us not only that Marx is not dead but rather his
critique of capitalism is more than relevant today.

           ***About Jerry Levy***
                  Jerry Levy, who teaches sociology at Marlboro College in
Vermont and plays Marx, says the one-man show examines
not only the political issues of Marx's day, but also
his interpersonal ones with his wife and daughter. It
points to the relevance of those issues today, in modern
life, according to Levy. Karl Marx is alive, well, and
on his way to talk about the fall of communism, his
life, and the relevance of the collapse of the Soviet
Union to today's world through this play.

                  Some Words from Jerry Levy:

                  "When Stan & Barbara Charkey suggested I consider
performing 'Marx in Soho,' I was immediately captivated
by Howard Zinn's play representing this 19th century
thinker and revolutionary who has had more than 100
years to think about his life and watch the unfolding of
history since his death in 1883. A student of Marx's
ideas, I never thought I would be a student of his
character. But here I am.*

                  Jerry Levy has appeared with the Actor's Theater, the
Vermont Theater Company, and the Elm City Players, and
in productions at Marlboro College in numerous roles
since moving to Vermont in 1975. He has recently
appeared as Weller in D.L Coburn's "the Gin Game," and
directed Herb Gardner's "A Thousand Clowns" with Acting
on Impulse.

                  Levy has performed "Marx in Soho" in London, Paris,
Berlin, Bremen, Madrid, Belfast, Derry, Nimes,
Montpelier, Santo Domingo, and throughout North America.

               ***About Director Michael Fox Kennedy:***

                  Michael Fox Kennedy has returned to theater and writing
after a 20-year career in the field of mental health. He
has been performing his one-man play about Abraham
Lincoln, "Even We Here," and recently appeared with the
Apron Theater as Robert, the Father, in David Aubern's

                ***More on Howard Zinn***

                  Howard Zinn is a historian, playwright, and social
activist. He was a shipyard worker and Air Force
bombardier before he went to college under the GI Bill
and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has
taught at Spelman College and Boston University, and has
been a visiting professor at the University of Paris and
the University of Bologna. He has received the Thomas
Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Upton
Sinclair Award, and the Lannan Literary Award. He lives
in Auburndale, Massachusetts.

                  Zinn was raised in a working-class family in Brooklyn,
and flew bombing missions for the United States in World
War II, an experience he now points to in shaping his
opposition to war. In 1956, he became a professor at
Spelman College in Atlanta, a school for black women.
(From Wikipedia)

                  Howard Zinn was interviewed at a "Marx in Soho"
performance in Cuba in May of 2004:

                  ZINN: And I am going to try to prove it by bringing him
back on the scene. And from there I'll show the U.S.
public what Marxism is really about. Marx himself would
explain the difference between Stalinism and Marxism.
I'll remind people what Marx's criticism of capitalism
was. I would demonstrate that these ideas have much to
with the United States today. In other words, that
Marxist criticism today is exact and current.

                  INTERVIEWER: One of your students, the well-known
novelist Alice Walker, has defined the writer as a sort
of medium ... How was Howard Zinn inspired to revive
Karl Marx?

                  ZINN: When I was 17, I began to read Marx and Engels. At
18 I began to work in a shipyard. Together with three
other radical young people, I organized the Young
Shipyard Workers Union. At that time, unions were very
exclusive and young persons could not join them. The
four of us became a team and met once a week. We read
Marx and many years later, when I became a professor, I
gave a seminar on Marxism. I read a lot of literature on
Marx and became interested in his family life. For me to
learn about him as a human being is as important as
learning of his ideas.

                  My first theater work was not about Karl Marx but about
an anarchist and feminist, Emma Goldman. That play was
shown in several cities of the US: New York and Boston,
but also in London and Japan. Later, already interested
in the theater, I decided to write a play about Marx. I
made this decision after the fall of the Soviet Union
because, after its fall, everyone thought that Marxism
had died. So I tried to tell the US public:

                  Marx is not dead and I am going to prove it by bringing
him back to the scenario. From there I would teach this
same public the difference between Stalinism and
Marxism. I would remind them what Marxist criticism of
capitalism consists of. I would demonstrate that these
ideas have much to do about the US today. In other
words, that Marxist criticism of capitalism is still
exact and current today.

                  Since I didn't want to only represent ideas, I added
information about the relationship between Marx and his
family, a little bit of humor, and a vision of what a
new society could be. That is why I have Marx speaking
in the Paris Commune of 1871. The Commune is a small

                  INTERVIEWER: What has been the reception of Marx in Soho
in the United States? Didn't they confuse you with
Groucho Marx?

                  ZINN: The US people know more about Groucho Marx than
about Karl Marx. The play has been shown in forty venues
in the US, mostly for a university public. The number of
spectators has fluctuated from three hundred to a
thousand and the play has always been well-received,
perhaps because it presents Marxist ideas clearly and
simply. It is a question of common sense. The play is a
combination of humor and experiences, human and family,
and one can even laugh at Marx. It is what happens when
Jenny laughs at him and Eleanor does the same. I think
this is more attractive for the public. Marx doesn't
come on stage as someone who knows it all.

                  INTERVIEWER: Is there a presence in US academies, the
universities, is his work studied?

                  ZINN: Sometimes. Perhaps in one out of every hundred
universities there is a course on Marxism. There are
many courses of political philosophy and perhaps a few
days are set aside for Marx. Usually his ideas are not
taught with exactness.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Mar 02 2006 - 00:00:03 EST