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by Bertolt Brecht

directed by PhD student Madison Mae Williams


Performance Dates

June 1, 3 & 4 @ 7:30pm
June 4 @ 2pm



Arthur Wagner Theatre



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The Cast

Baal: Alex Savage
Emily: Emily Cronan
Johannes: Marcus Escobar
Johanna: Alexa Maris McGinnis
Ekart: Seth Gunawardena
Sophie Barger/The Waitress: Sophia Donner
Mech/Second Lumberjack: Daylon de Alva
Schierer/The Pianist/Fourth Lumberjack: Ben McLaren
A Young Lady/Louise/The Chanteuse: Rachel Hughes
A Young Man/The Landlady: Vanathi Sundararaman
Another Man/Mjurk/First Lumberjack: Frank Seed
The Other Man/Second Lorry-Driver/First Farmer/First Policeman/Teddy: Michael Kendrick
The Older Sister/Young Woman: Juliana Scheding
The Younger Sister/Second Farmer: Diego Gonzalez
The Tramp/Third Lumberjack: Stephen Loftesnes
First Lorry-Driver/Lupu/Second Farmer/Watzmann: Lucas Grimwade
Piller/Third Lorry-Driver/The Parson/Second Policeman: Tommy Huebner


The Creative Team

Production Stage Manager: Ruby Hays
Scenic Designer: Tess Jordahl
Costume Designer: Caprice Shirley
Lighting Designer: Russel Chow
Sound Designer: Kaci Koelker
Assistant Director: Emma Brady
Dramaturg: Mia Van Deloo
Assistant Scenic Designer: Anjolie Ochalek
Assistant Costume Designer: Melina Ginn
Assistant Costume Designer: Madi Hoffman
Assistant Lighting Designer: Stephaney Knapp
Assistant Stage Manager: Niles Hallie
Assistant Stage Manager: EmmaJo Spencer
Production Assistant: Julia Cube
Production Assistant: Robert Remedios



Content Warnings

Please note that Baal contains depictions and intense themes of violence, sexual assault, suicide, screaming, sudden loud noises, and flashing lights. 

The themes and content of this show have the potential to be triggering. These themes and topics weigh heavy on cast, crew, and audience. Just as it is not an easy show to watch, it is also not an easy show to perform. We emphasize these points to encourage you to take space as you need to in order to prioritize your health and safety when watching our performance. Should you need to step out or leave, we hold the space for you to do so. We prioritize safety first and foremost, and encourage audience members to take the steps necessary to take care of themselves.

If you are in need of additional support regarding mental health and sexual assault, we have compiled a list of resources in the program, including CAPS, CARE at SARC, and other on- and off-campus resources. 

The show will start in one or two minutes. Please take this time to check in with yourself and we will hold space for anyone that would like to leave at this time. Thank you for coming.


  • CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services): 858-534-3755,
  • CARE at SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Center): 858-534-5793,
  • 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
  • 24/7 Trevor Project Hotline (mental health support for members of the LGBTQ community): 866-488-7386


Director's Statement

Baal is a play obsessed with bodies. A text that is driven by the consumption, decay, and destruction of bodies, Bertolt Brecht’s first full-length play follows the anti-hero Baal as he manipulates, charms, and assaults his way across the German countryside. Baal is a text written in reaction to the artistic movements of both romanticism and expressionism—both of which Brecht ended up rejecting as a theorist and practitioner, leading to his development of the epic theatre movement. The play was written during the final months of World War One, and the horrors of war-torn Europe certainly marked Brecht’s exploration of the poetic, the erotic, the religious, the economic, the violent, and the masculine as intersecting themes.

The questions this play raises are not limited to moral quandaries; it is easy enough to recognize why the actions Baal takes toward and against those he is able to seduce are disgusting and morally reprehensible. This play asks of its characters and of its audience, how do we consume each other? How are our everyday relationships transactional? Even as we recognize the monstrous and the grotesque, what is it that fascinates and seduces us? Why does this power go unchecked? And how are we complicit in its continued existence?



About the Director

Madison Mae Williams (she/her) is a fourth-year PhD candidate. Born and raised on Cape Cod, she received her BA concentrating in musical theatre, poetry, and Africana studies from Hampshire College. Maddie’s dissertation project focuses on alienation in countercultural performances of the Long Sixties. Her other research areas include American musical theatre, the Black Power/Arts movements, horror and the uncanny, performance for children, and the films of Stanley Kubrick and John Cassavetes.

Maddie has worked with La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, Cygnet Theatre, the New Cosmopolitans, the Playwrights Realm, and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. She is passionate about theatre work that is accessible, radical, and increases visibility and representation for people of marginalized identities. Maddie is a proud member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Black Theatre Network. UC San Diego credits: Elektra (Music Director), Man In Love (Dramaturg), Incendiary (WNPF ‘19 staged reading), Everybody Black (Assistant/Music Director, Dramaturg).


About the Playwright

Bertolt Brecht was a twentieth-century German playwright, poet, theorist, and theatre practitioner. After moving to Berlin in 1924, Brecht began working with composer Kurt Weill, with whom he wrote The Threepenny Opera, and started his long-time collaboration with composer Hanns Eisler. After fleeing Germany during the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933, he wrote many of his best-known antifascist plays while in exile in Sweden, Finland, and the United States. Brecht is known as the foremost practitioner of epic theatre, a political theatre movement that privileges the relationship between drama’s political content and form over audience emotional reaction and aesthetic value. This form of dialectic theatre uses dramatic and theatrical techniques that position the practice as one—like the real world— that “in disharmony with itself” and calls for the audience to engage with it critically. After being blacklisted for his Marxist ideology and being called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, Brecht returned to Europe, founding the Berliner Ensemble in 1949. He died in 1956 in East Berlin, East Germany. Brecht wrote hundreds of letters, essays, and poems in his lifetime. His best-known plays include The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and Her Children, Life of Galileo, The Good Person of Szechwan, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.