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Ben Becker reads"Herz der Finsternis" ( "Heart of Darkness") by Joseph Conrad

There are few actors who can give voice to the original narrative of Francis Ford Coppola's cinematic masterpiece "Apocalypse Now." Ben Becker is the ideal cast for this. Not only because he wears the name of author Joseph Conrad as a tattoo on his left arm under his skin, but also because he seems to know more about the journey into the heart of darkness than anyone else.

KEY VISUAL Ben Becker - Apokalypse
KEY VISUAL Ben Becker - Apokalypse © Fritz Brinkmann

The exceptional actor immerses himself in the role of the disillusioned Captain Marlow, who steers a small steamboat upriver into the hostile environment of the treacherous Congo and into a dystopian nightmare.

The loss of all orientation and the ominous silence of the jungle lead the sailor into another dimension, the earth looks at one "...with a vengeful mien. (...) The earth seemed otherworldly." The external dangers and other indications slowly shake the confidence, doubts condense: "Something was not right upstream. But what - and how much?" Becker demands everything of himself and the audience, for it is not light fare that the Polish-British writer Joseph Conrad, (b. 1857, † 1924) published in 1899 as a novel about the cruel ivory and slave trade in black Africa that made him one of the most important writers of the 19th century.

In Becker's APOKALYPSE, it is not only English colonialism and racism at the end of Queen Victoria's reign that is indicted but also the entire European world, which since the 15th century has gained wealth and influence at the cost of exploitation, war, violence, and flight.

In the original narrative, which was the inspiration for Coppola's multiple Oscar-winning film "Apocalypse Now," about the Vietnam War, English Captain Marlow boards the steamer of a Belgian trading company in the Congo. His mission: to sail up the Black River, into the heart of the African continent, where a trading agent named Kurtz has created his own empire in which he plays God. This is the man Marlow is supposed to find and bring back to civilization, but instead Kurtz draws him deeper and deeper into horror.

The accusatory and somber text is more topical than ever and represents a comprehensive critique of capitalism. The coldness and lack of empathy of the colonial masters towards the indigenous people, the "cannibals", as well as their unbelievable suffering, are harrowing descriptions with which Ben Becker is able to captivate his audience from the very first minute. No scene applause, no sigh of relief and no laughter interrupt Becker's extraordinary and expressive interpretation, instead he leaves his audience at the end agitated, thoughtful and also relieved.

Becker performs the so important and fascinating text of his favorite writer by using all his acting skills and creates on stage an extremely dense and at the same time strongly touching atmosphere, which goes through the marrow and leg by the reducedness of the text and his direct address to the audience and easily reaches Coppola's visually powerful interpretation.

"Every human being has his breaking point" is said right at the beginning of Becker's APOKALYPSE, and the viewer can find it in himself when he judges whether and how long he is willing to endure exploitation, greed for profit and violence until it finally degenerates into senseless destruction.

(Program in German)

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Additional information
Participating artists
Joseph Conrad (Autor/in)
Ben Becker
Renaissance-Theater Berlin
Renaissance-Theater Berlin
Renaissance-Theater Berlin