University Players Stage Mephisto

Posted: April 19, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Klaus Mann (son of novelist Thomas Mann) was 43 when he committed suicide in a French hotel in 1949. His frustration with the postwar West German politics made it impossible to get his 1936 novel Mephisto published, but his story had a vast underground following even though it was not legally published until 1981. The George Mason University Players tackle this challenging and intricate drama in a series of performances beginning April 21 in TheaterSpace on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

In 1979, Arianne Mnouchkine crafted a play based on the book, which is about a group of socially conscious theatrical people in Weimar, Germany, caught up in the country’s gradual descent into the nightmare of Nazism. The play was first presented by Theatre du Soleil in France. The English translation by Timberlake Wertenbaker that followed was produced in London with Alan Rickman in the leading role.

In a story spanning 1923 to 1936, politics as theatre, artistic ambition, and a corrupt regime are a few of the themes in this play, which begins with a Germany downtrodden after its World War I defeat—economically depressed by rampant inflation and a fertile breeding ground for political “saviors.”

Performances are April 21-23 and April 28-30 at 8 p.m.; April 23-24 and 29, and May 1 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults or $7 for students and seniors, and are available by calling 703-218-6500 or visiting the Center for the Arts Box Office. Tickets are also available at

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