DINNER WITH GOEBBELS’

Propaganda. Really, who avoid what’s best described as the devil’s machination for idle information handlers?

Certainly not act2studio works which makes a blissfully funny return this month with Dinner With Goebbels’.

In an effort to better understand the modern marketing of warfare and the human mythology of evil, the highly charged political satire plots down a trio of masterminds at a table for a furry of laughter—Nazi master propagandist Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Mary Wildridge), Republican political consultant and policy advisor Karl Rove (Sandra Forte), and public relations wizard Edward Bernays (Cathy Shilton), nephew of the legendary Dr. Sigmund Freud.

Director Les Porter insists, laughter aside, the onus is on the audience to decipher what is right and what is wrong in the sinister art of message manipulation.

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The highly amusing offering is threaded by three historical figures, why does playwright Mark Leith’s character formula work so well?
It primarily works because they are real people–they existed and do exist.

We hear first hand accounts of their exploits. If the story was told through a second hand source, you could doubt the validity of the stories. You might believe that person was exaggerating but hearing it first-hand is far more powerful because they are telling it exactly as it happened.

It also makes the audience sit up and take stock because the world these men live in is the same world we live in.

The stories that Barnays, Goebbels, and Rove share are eye-openers to say the least. Is there one character that you feel enlightens audiences the most?
I guess they each teach us a bit about themselves and what made them do the things they have done.

However, I believe Goebbels is the protagonist or driving force behind getting the others to reveal themselves. He plays into their egos to get them to tell their stories. He also goads them into revealing more about themselves than they intended. He knows what buttons to push.

Perhaps this is a question best directed to Mark Leith but what is the playwright saying about truth in this comical experience?
For me, in simple terms, he is illustrating how little we know about what goes on behind closed doors and who really is making decisions that affects all of our daily lives. How we have given a few men so much power and control over our lives.

Most directors have a favourite scene or favourite line they’re drawn to in a given production but that’s not the case for you in Dinner With Goebbels’.
Not in particular. The play on a whole was a huge discovery to me. How little I knew about why certain events occurred and how they came about, how easily we are all manipulated into believing certain things, and how, if we know that these things were happening, why nobody did anything to stop them.

Most directors have a favourite scene or favourite line they’re drawn to in a given production but that’s not the case for you in Dinner With Goebbels’.
I think because it leaves them questioning what is true in their world and what is not.

It connects with playgoers because these events occurred. Because they were oblivious to it, they feel they’ve been tricked!

It’s a play that makes everyone question what they really do know about the world they live in and how these events affect their daily lives.

If Goebbels, Rove or Bernays ran against Toronto mayor Rob Ford tomorrow for the city’s top job, who would give him the hardest battle at the polls and why given Ford’s love affair with voters outside the downtown core?
Now that is an interesting question.

Definitely not Goebbels as he has too many skeletons in the closet. Bernays did his best work by staying in the background so I am not sure he would like to be in the public eye that much.

Rove would definitely give him the hardest time and most likely win against Rob Ford. Although I am not sure which would be the lesser of the evil? Let’s not forget it was Rove who got George W. Bush elected twice. He knows the PR business of winning elections on a big scale. He knows how to sway people opinions and change their way of thinking.

Given many of Ford’s antics, Rove’s PR team would have a field day with that.

DINNER WITH GOEBBELS by Mark Leith * Jan. 25 – Jan 27, 2013 * Red Castle Sandcastle Theatre 922 Queen St. E. Toronto ON * Tickets $15.00 – $20.00 416-979-5000 www.act2studio.ca * CAST Cathy Shilton Mary Wilridge Sandra Forte DIRECTORDIRECTOR Les Porter

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