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Baal (TV 1982)

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Published on Nov 27, 2013

Baal was the first full-length play written by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. It concerns a wastrel youth who becomes involved in several sexual affairs and at least one murder. It was written in 1918, when Brecht was a 20-year-old student at Munich University, in response to the expressionist drama The Loner (Der Einsame) by the soon-to-become-Nazi dramatist Hanns Johst.

The play is written in a form of heightened prose and includes four songs and an introductory choral hymn ("Hymn of Baal the Great"), set to melodies composed by Brecht himself.

In 1982, musician/actor David Bowie played the title role for a BBC television production of Baal. John Willett provided the English translation and screenplay. Bowie's recordings of the play's five songs were released as an EP, David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht's BAAL. Directed by Alan Clarke, Bowie is at his most unatractive in this experimental production.

David Bowie ... Baal Robert Austin ... Mech Jonathan Kent ... Eckart Russell Wootton ... Piller Julian Wadham ... Johannes Juliet Hammond ... Emilie (as Juliet Hammond-Hill)

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