In the Erfurt theater in Germany, created by an Australian director, Johann Kresnik, the production of Verdi's "A Masked Ball", is set to open on Saturday, April 12, 2008, despite calls from a German local politician to boycott the performance, which has gone ignored.
The stage is set with the recreation of the ruins of New York's World Trade Center. A women with a toothbrush mustache painted on, does the Nazi salute, naked men and women in Mickey Mouse hats- all set the scene Verdi's "A Masked Ball".
According to Kresnik, the play is a populist critique of modern American society and he states, "It will be a different, a provocative masked ball on the ruins of the World Trade Centre. The naked stand for people without means, the victims of capitalism, the underclass, who don’t have anything anymore."
The people he speaks of are all on stage, naked and wearing Mickey Mouse hats.
In another scene a woman sits on the broken up concrete in the midst of the destruction after two planes crashed into the Towers of the World Trade Center, singing.
In yet another, a woman in a red dress, stands on stage, a toothbrush mustache of the type that Hitler wore, painted above her upper lip, arm raised in a salute to Hitler, and scenes of men dressed in uniform and others in the colors of red, white and blue, as they lay an American flag over the bodies of those killed on 9/11.
Some believe in this is in very bad taste and others are asking, "isn't a lecture from Germany about human rights still a century or two premature?"
I will leave it to readers to decide whether they agree with those assessments or not.