Zoe Beloff (b. 1958)

Back to Zoe Beloff

The Days of The Commune (2012)

The Days of the Commune Part 1: Scenes 1-5
The Days of the Commune Part 2: scenes 6 – 8
The Days of the Commune Part 3: scenes 9 - 12

Play by Bert Brecht
Music by Hanns Eisler

Nanda Abella, Mitchell Abidor, Aaron Beebe, Michael Paul Britto Diego Brindis, Iris Dankemeyer, Julie Delaurier, Jay Dobkin, Miranda Dobkin, Carlo Fiorletta, Michael Friedman, Pietro Gonzalez, Michael Hagins, Kenji Johnson, Douglas Johnson, Inas Kelly, Joy Kelly, Tony Lewis, Cecilia Lynn-Jacobs, Deborah Matzner, Greg Mehrten, Reka Polonyi, Ellen Scott, Sean Shannon, Mark Skelly, Marie Weigl, Ahuva Willner, Joanie Fritz Zosike

Musicians: Melissa Elledge, Nathan Koci, Bob Goldberg, Hannah Temple

Instigator, Director – Zoe Beloff Production Manager - Nira Burstein Sound Recordist – Donald Kelly Costumes – Erika Munro Cinematographer – Eric Muzzy Musical Director – Hannah Temple

The Days of the Commune Part 1: scenes 1 – 5
The Days of the Commune Part 2: scenes 6 – 8
The Days of the Commune Part 3: scenes 9 -12

In the spring of 2012 I brought together a group of actors, activists and artists to perform Brecht’s play "The Days of the Commune" in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Thinking about OWS as a radical theater of the people, inspired me to conceptualize this project as a “work in progress” in a sense that all social movements are a work in progress and I wanted this work to be visible. Rather than stage the play in a theater, we performed it scene by scene in public spaces around New York City starting in Zuccotti Park. These public rehearsals ran from March through May, the months of the Paris Commune's brief existence in the spring of 1871.

The Paris Commune was the first great modern Occupation where the working people took over their city and turned it into a progressive democracy of the people. Many different left groups came together and women played an important part in defining and demanding feminist principles. They had so many ideas that are still relevant today. They decreed that education should be free, that no house should stand vacant while workers were homeless. They were against militarism and for internationalism.

Brecht shows us everyday life during the Commune and at the same time asks us to think about how political and economic forces shape lived experience. The plays invites us to imagine what would happen if a new kind of people’s democracy took over a city today. How could it survive against the forces of Global Capital? How should it respond to armed attack? These questions are relevant both to the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement. Brecht doesn’t provide answers. Instead he invites each of us to think for ourselves.

-- Zoe Beloff

These videos are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only.
All rights to this recorded material belong to Zoe Beloff. Used with permission of Zoe Beloff.