Democracy, A Brilliant Story of Intrigue and Politics at Olney Theatre Center
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The last date listed for Democracy was Thursday August 9, 2007 / 8:00pm.
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from b j A.
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This is a provocative new play by Michael Frayn (Copenhagen) that reveals insights into Willy Brandt, Chancellor of Germany after WWII at the time West and East were beginning to achieve a rapprochement. There's little political intrigue, but much psychological probing into the thoughts and feelings of this ground-breaking leader and his advisors, including his assistant who turned out to be a spy!
Experience democracy in Washington for the first time!
Democracy is a brilliant story of intrigue and politics by Michael Frayn, the author of Copenhagen and Noises Off. This production marks the area premiere of the show.
Based on fact and set against the backdrop of Germany in the mid-1960s, Democracy reimagines the interactions between Willy Brandt, the first left-of-center West German Chancellor in nearly 40 years, and his devoted personal assistant, Günter Guillaume, who is no less devoted to his other role as a spy for the Stasi.
One doesn’t need to be an expert in German history, or even history in general, to enjoy Democracy. “Frayn finds inside Brandt’s rise and fall a political story of visionary leadership clouded by the vagaries of loyalty, betrayal, espionage, and alliance. His meticulously constructed plays are clearly the result of a complex mind that is drawn to puzzles of human interconnection. As is certainly true with Democracy, Frayn’s plays need to be mined, decoded, and solved,” remarked director Jim Petosa.
To help solve Democracy (and the history), Olney is collaborating with the German Historical Institute (GHI), an independent research institute dedicated to the promotion of historical research in the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. GHI hosted the first rehearsal of Democracy to give the cast historical perspective on politics of the Brandt chancellorship.
Just as meticulously assembled as Frayn’s play is the cast of Democracy. Playing one of the most attractive figures of the 20th century, Willy Brandt, is Andrew Long, who returns to Olney after appearing as Fagin in Oliver! Long has appeared at the Guthrie Theater, The Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Arena Stage, and he has worked extensively with The Shakespeare Theatre, among many others. Playing Brandt’s devoted personal assistant, Günter Guillaume, is Jeffries Thaiss, who most recently appeared at Olney in 13 Rue de L’Amour. His other Olney credits include last summer’s rep of An Enemy of the People and Hedda Gabler.
Playwright, novelist, and translator Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933. After two years National Service, during which he learned Russian, he majored in philosophy at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He then worked as a reporter and columnist for The Guardian and The Observer, publishing several novels including The Tin Men (1965), The Russian Interpreter (1966), A Landing on the Sun (1991), and Spies (2002). In addition to Democracy, Frayn’s latest play, his plays include Alphabetical Order (1975), Clouds (1976), Donkeys’ Years (1977), Make or Break (1980), Noises Off (1982), Benefactors (1984), and Copenhagen (1998), which was produced by Olney in 2004. His films for television include “First and Last” (1989), for which he won an Emmy, and an adaptation of his 1991 novel A Landing on the Sun. He also wrote the screenplay for the film “Clockwise” (1986), a comedy starring John Cleese.