By BWW News Desk | January 7, 2020 | 7:50 AM
The Actors’ Gang Theater continues its 2019-20 season with a workshop production of Fritz Lang’s M. Originally written by Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou, and adapted and directed by Tess Vidal, M performs through Sunday, January 19th.
M is a projection of a dystopia-a cautionary tale in which the law becomes lawless and the line between those who are being protected and those who are being oppressed blurs. The great German film director, Fritz Lang, maintained that society’s reaction to Hans, portrayed by Peter Lorre in the film revealed the danger and hysteria lurking behind the indolent bourgeois facade of 1930s Germany, and that Hans embodied a society in the grip of its own self-destructive urges.
M is a provocative experiment, a brand-new piece of theater that takes risks. In the past, The New Colossus, Break the Whip, Embedded, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and countless other shows have started as workshop productions at The Actors’ Gang and went on to become widely acclaimed theater productions touring throughout the US and the world.
Mörder Unter Uns or Murderers Among Us was the originally planned title for the filmic masterpiece M (1931) from legendary German auteur Fritz Lang. Though it was changed during production, this rejected name sums up what is otherwise a deeply complex, jarring narrative. The story takes viewers into a metropolis, where citizens, gangsters and police are collectively driven to exhaustion and extreme lengths in pursuit of a serial child murderer who continues to strike but leaves no clues. As the film was written and released in a German period now known as The Weimar Republic, which followed WWI and was deep into the political-economic throes that would launch both WWII and the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, M lives within a traumatic yet a strangely relatable zeitgeist as it artfully examines powerful cultural questions such as a distrust of authority, mob mentality, mental health, and a societal fear of “the other” – all of which still resonates today. Lang and the film’s star, Peter Lorre, both fled Germany within a few years of this film’s release and the film was distributed outside of the publicly controlled studio system, UFA, as the dangerous, authoritative political party gained control of all media outlets and deemed Lang’s messages in M as a threat.
Tickets for Fritz Lang’s M are available by calling 310-838-4264 or online at www.TheActorsGang.com. Ticket prices are $25 a ticket. The Actors’ Gang Theater is located at The Ivy Substation at 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232.
The 2019-20 season also includes Free Shakespeare in the Park and Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Don’t Pay! (February 6th – March 28th) directed by Bob Turton and translated by Cam Deaver. Last season, The Actors’ Gang Theater presented an acclaimed production of Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, earning four 2019 Stage Raw Awards nominations and 4 Ovation Awards nominations; Turton earned Best Male Comedy Stage Raw Award for playing the Maniac.
The season concludes with Cabaret (April 23rd – June 13th), directed by Will Thomas McFadden, with book by Joe Masteroff, stories by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
Tickets are available online at www.TheActorsGang.com or by phone at 310-838-4264.