Brecht wrote The Decision in 1930. After the play had been interpreted
as an apology for totalitarianism and mass murder, Brecht and his
family banned it from showing until 1998.
Productions have put on an intense and gripping version of this
controversial work. The opening scene sees four communist agitators,
returning to Moscow after a propaganda trip to pre-communist China,
explaining to two of their party superiors why they decided it was
necessary to kill one of their own during the trip.
audience is then taken back and forth in time as the four agitators
act out the sequence of events, and as they are quizzed by 'The
Control Chorus' - the two functionaries. The cool, calm and collectedness
of the two party superiors contrast sharply with the intense passion
displayed by the agitators.
Giblin is very good as the desperate young agitator, eventually
to be killed by his own, who finds the atrocities around him too
severe and too urgent to delay the revolution any longer. Lucy Underwood's
smug and ruthless merchant is fantastically creepy, carelessly stating
'I have no idea what a man is. All I have learnt is his price.'
stage space is used beautifully as the actors move around both behind
and in front of the audience, seated in four different places.
- and this is why the play has been so attacked - everyone agrees
in the end that the four agitators did the right thing in killing
their comrade. Indeed, the general opinion is that there was nothing
else they could have done.
message is a sinister one. It is made even more chilling by the
challenge put to the audience as we are asked 'What would you refuse