Marx in Soho with Bob Weick REVIEWS
(Weick) captured Marx and his ideas with the proper strength and subtlety, moving very effectively through a range of moods: humorous,angry, poignant. We admired Weick's transitions, change of pace, the nuances of feeling. In short, I am very happy with what Bob has done. He (John Doyle) directed the play brilliantly .
Author - Marx in Soho and The People's History of The United States
Bob Weick brought to Chestertown an honest and moving look at Karl Marx via MARX IN SOHO. Not only did the play speak to students studying sociology and philosophy, but it also resonated with students enrolled in the Drama program. In addition, the time and attention Bob showed my students was remarkable. It really made for a remarkable day at Washington College." Let me know if you want something different/else.
Michele Volansky '90, PhD
Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Drama Washington College MD
For students in my social theory classes, Bob's performance really brought home in both a creative and intellectual fashion the background of Marx's systematic critique of capitalism. How refreshing it was to meet an artist who takes his diverse and exceptional acting skills on the road to help contribute to this generation's ability to take seriously the need to act on the need to challenge capitalism. I especially appreciated how Bob made the link between historical debates that Marx engaged in with his friends and detractors and similar debates on the state of the world today--and all in plain English! I highly recommend Bob's show for anyone who wants to stimulate critical thinking in a substantive and entertaining fashion
St. Cloud State University, Minnesota
I invited Bob to perform Marx in Soho as part of a graduate seminar at Rice University on the philosophy of Marx. It provided an excellent introduction to the personal and intellectual life of one of the most revered and reviled figures of Western thought. Bob not only paints a convincing portrait of the Marx that Howard Zinn wanted to present to contemporary audiences, he does it with a passion and vigor that will captivate any audience. We had the added pleasure of arranging an outdoor performance, a beautifully staged event that successfully integrated students, faculty, and the community on the Rice campus. The performance offers an engaging image of Marx as a philosopher, economist, revolutionary, and human being that has since served as a useful reference point for many of our seminar discussions. I highly recommend Bob's performance of Marx in Soho for both its artistic and instructional value.
Professor Jay Miller
Rice University, Houston, Texas
Some days it is good to be greatly entertained. Other days it is good to be intellectually stimulated. On the very best of days you get both. Watch that consummate actor Bob Weick perform Howard Zinn's one man play "Marx In Soho" and you will have one of those great days. No one wears the human face of Marx quite like Weick. The play is not to be missed
Former Chair - Marxist Secton of the American Sociological Association
If Bob Weick, who played the protagonist Karl Marx, was nervous about his first show at Cal State East Bay on Tuesday, he clearly didn’t show it, because he was nothing short of brilliant and continually engaging. It was fascinating to observe his easy shift through a variety of moods: ebullience, frustration, guilt, remorse, embarrassment and heartbreaking sadness. Thankfully the play wasn’t completely serious; it did elicit the occasional chuckle at subtle humor and occasionally soft gasps at unexpected jokes such as, “If you had boils on your ass, maybe you’d get off your ass!” The props were minimal, the lighting the simple and the costume absolutely authentic. Weick made excellent use of the space; his movements were unpredictable, body language free and real, and more than anything else, you could tell that he knew his medium—the stage. Clearly the research, practice and thought paid off. The play was not about politics; it was about Marx. And in the end, I like most others, walked away intrigued, with a deep contentment for having witnessed an educational masterpiece.
California State University, East Bay
Thanks again Bob for a great and exciting night!. People have been talking about the play and your performance in the hallways all day. It was very well received. Hope you had a safe trip back. Question: do you have anything scheduled for Saturday, October 24th 2009? We'd love having Marx in Soho be our Keynote presentation at our Pa. sociology meeting
Chad M. Kimmel
Shippensburg University Shippensburg, PA
What a pleasure to have Bob Weick perform Howard Zinn’s play, Marx in Soho, as the launching event for our Zinn Academic Lecture Series! Not only was it packaged expertly to make it extremely easy to produce, all costs were most affordable for our institution. We searched for a variety of ways to engage students in the series – an art project, lectures, a video presentation – and including a professional-quality theatrical performance was a perfect addition. And, Bob’s performance was awesome. What a success!
Chapman University, Orange CA
If you didn't see the play, it's worth coming out in the rain for tonight! Howard Zinn says the actor, Bob Weick, gives the best performance he has ever seen. It is powerful, funny. moving, illuminating, and thought provoking! It is understandable to want to stay cozy on a night like this, but I promise you that you will be glad you came...! Last night a full house gave a standing ovation....
Our September 19, 2007 audience of 220 thoroughly enjoyed Bob Weick's performance of "Marx in Soho"!! What a wonderful experience it was to bring Bob to town, to watch him become Marx, and to listen during his "talk back session" as he shared with the audience his own motivations for traveling the country performing this play. Most amazingly, his performance successfully opened the minds of many of the more resistant students who attended the play for extra credit in their courses.
One was overheard remarking on her cell phone as she exited the theatre: "I thought this was going to be a nightmare. But it was really very inspiring! I'm really glad I came!" Bob's incredible performance reaches into the brains of those who most need to hear Marx's message and overturns misconceptions about the man and his mission. He inspires the audience to work for justice and self-direction, both as individuals and as a society. Laurel Graham
University of South Florida in Tampa
It's appropriate that the film Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, an affectionate profile of the well-known liberal writer and activist, is being screened at the Ritz Theater the same time this piece is being performed around the corner at the American Philosophical Society. Zinn's Marx in Soho (Philadelphia) is as much about his vision of what society should be as it is about Marx's.
Though Marx has been demonized by some as the father of communism, Robert Weick portrays him as a personable man devoted to his wife and family as he writes Das Kapital and struggles to make ends meet in London, where he lived most of his life.
This show's Marx is also aware of all that has transpired since his death, which enables him to urge those in the audience toward political and social change. An impassioned Weick rises to this occasion, and though it's obvious he is speaking as Marx, the sentiments are clearly Zinn's.
I must have said it already, but let me repeat: GREAT PERFORMA NCE, a stirring moment on campus, and a great education for the kids.
This production does several different things with great skill, subtlety, and professionalism. The audience will encounter a Marx who remains passionate about injustice, critical of inequality, and combative with his rivals ... but also a Marx who is loving toward his family, saddened by their poverty, and willing to rethink some of his ideas.
Bob Weick is a gem of a performer, taking the audience on a whirlwind tour of different moods, attitudes, and ideas. Whether you're a novice undergraduate, a Marxist scholar, a social justice advocate, or an interested citizen, you will find much of value in this production.
Minnesota State University, Mankato
If you're opposed to the Bush administration's domestic and international policies, you may be surprised how many ideologies you share with the title character in the Iron Age Theatre's production of Marx in Soho. But if you're worried this somehow makes you a Marxist, fear not—it turns out Karl Marx didn't even consider himself one.
There's an appealing purity to director John Doyle's production at the Philly Fringe, as a lone storyteller stands before us and plainly relates the tale of the philosopher's life. Because the play is set in present-day Philadelphia, Doyle has updated some of the facts and figures in Howard Zinn's script regarding America's GNP and the number of Americans without health insurance.
Addressing such hot-button issues as war and the death penalty, Marx's comments bear more than a passing resemblance to the left wing of the Democratic Party (regarding the death penalty, Marx offers that "rather than punishing criminals for crimes, we should destroy the social institutions that engender these crimes").
Yet while he abhors the lives needlessly wasted as a result of war and capitol punishment, it's capitalism for which he reserves his most impassioned oratory. Bemoaning the fact that 1 percent of the U.S. population retains 40 percent of the wealth or that millions of the nation's children are forced to live beneath the poverty level, he shakes his sadly before admitting that since his death, "Yes, capitalism has triumphed, but over whom?" Whom indeed?
J. Cooper Robb
Growing Up, Marx was presented as a villian, but now I understand so much more.
Member of the Elizabeth Catholic Worker
Given we are such close neighbors with Colonial Williamsburg, history is never far from daily life at the College. However, few colonial reenactments could bring history alive to college students like Howard Zinn’s one-man play, Marx in Soho, brought to campus by the Sociology Club, the Sociology Department, the Progressive Alliance and the Charles Center. In a powerful but intimate performance, Bob Weick, an obviously gifted actor, played Karl Marx come back to Earth to set straight the misrepresentations of his ideals and to argue for his relevance in present-day America. While only an introduction into Marx’s life and work, the play’s major success lies its ability to humanize a figure often demonized in post-USSR memory.
As an educational, one-man play with bare staging and no scene-changes, Marx in Soho had potential to bore, yet it more than entertained for the full hour. Much of the magic of the performance stemmed from Weick’s ability to inflect Zinn’s script with a range of emotions. In contrast to the image of the austere communist, Weick played Marx as a likable man who enjoys laughter, story-telling, family life and a good beer. Furthermore, Weick portrayed Marx as a man influenced not only by the harsh realities of 19th century industrializing Europe, but by the ideological critiques of his wife, Jenny. By placing his own wife as a central critic, Zinn enables Marx to confront his critics head-on.
DSJ Staff Reporter - William and Mary
Thanks again for an amazing performance and for doing the Q & A afterwards with our students. I have received so many glowing comments from faculty and students and I have asked them to send on their comments to your website. I hope you get some responses. Best of luck with all the productions you are currently working on and I hope you continue to have successful performances with Marx in Soho.
High School Educator Moravian Academy
I went last night and was very impressed. It was better than I expected as Bob Weick was so alive and brilliant. He made me feel like the real Karl Marx had returned, was interacting with us and straightening up his message as it has been misconstrued for so long. What a great message of equality, justice and compassion for the poor working class! Frequent laughter and a standing ovation also helped me know that others obviously enjoyed it as well.
Cranbrook Peace Foundation
Yesterday's class discussion about the performance went great! The students talked for 30-40 minutes all about different parts of the play, how they were able to relate it to current issues, how it seemed like it was really MARX up there... I'll be compiling all the written comments this weekend, and will send them your way. We showed a clip from the Marx & Capitalism section of the DVD for those who weren't there, and it helped spark the discussion. And, the best part of the discussion which I know you'll appreciate the most,,, students were saying how it made them feel like they wanted to take action and get involved --- a few of them asked about the meeting next week to continue discussing Marx in Eugene, and others said they wanted to find out about campus organizations that work for change. Your seeds are starting to take root! I've also had lots of positive feedback from the dept. and other professors who were there. Students went into our main office to thank the dept. for sponsoring the show -- hopefully that will send the message!!!
Sociology Dept. U. of Oregon, Eugene
I wanted to thank you for coming to perform "Marx In Soho" at Moravian Academy on January 23rd. I thoroughly enjoyed your performance. My husband is a Russian historian, and we lived in Russia for an academic year, so it was particularly poignant to me. I know that I was not the only one captivated by your performance, however. While I'm sure that the upperclassmen understood more of the concepts you were talking about, in some ways, I think that the younger students got more out of it. I'm sure that it was the first time some of them heard capitalism criticized. That's what I'm hoping to do with the assembly program - expand people's horizons.
This show was enlightening and inspiring. Wick was the reincarnation of Marx.
Member of the Elizabeth Catholic Worker
Weick makes Marx a fully realized human being, sympathetic almost to the point of being saintly.
It almost goes without saying that Weick is an excellent actor, since anyone with lesser talents would hesitate to attempt this challenging role.
Weick, director John Doyle and "Marx in Soho" will give you a lot to think about, in time when it often seems that the powers that be do not want you to think at all.
The Morning Call
Actor Bob Weick performed a powerful imitation of Karl Marx during four shows at the school, presenting a brilliant look at Marx’s life, ideas and passion for radical change. He also succeeded in showing how relevant Marx’s ideas are to modern times by speaking to the world’s current international unrest and addressing local issues. His ideas were passionate as he walked into the audience and pronounced his idealistic views of what society should be like.
"Bob, John and Kate Thank you for all your hard work and the campus response has been wonderful- Faculty and Students have said the performance was amazing. Marx in Soho is a collaborative event between the CORE curriculum, Challenge of Modernity-CORE 152, and the Sophomore Year Experience program. We want to take the academic curriculum and make it come alive for our students. Marx's thoughts are as current today as it was during his time. The academic and student affairs joint programming initiative looks to engage our students in and outside the classroom. Marx in Soho is an ideal performance for this engagement
Rajesh "Raj" Bellani
Your performance of Zinn’s “Marx in Soho” was outstanding. I have been teaching European History for several years and each year I try to find new and engaging methods to keep my students interested. Traditionally, my students respect the concept of learning the material but sometimes find it difficult to maintain an interest. Your performance has changed that and has provided a “new” look at history for many of them. Your presentation of Marx and his life experiences has provided an opportunity for our students to see history brought to “life.” The students in attendance had wide eyes and were at the edge of their seats for the entire performance. Your energy and intensity engaged the audience and we were hanging on to every word.Your ability to change emotional level as well as mood was astonishing and made Karl Marx real and not just a character from our textbook. I wish our schedule had allowed for more time so our students could have made their comments to you rather than relay them through me. First they wished to thank you and then said things like, “that was awesome,” and “he was amazing.” You really left an impression on them. Once again I thank you for what you do and for doing it so well.
European History - Easton High School
Thanks so much for the presentation yesterday. It was wonderful. The kids were so energized. I have spent every class since yesterday trying to answer all the questions the kids have (the most popular being “was that real beer?” ). They have asked some really excellent questions and many of us have had some great conversations with them. I will gladly recommend you to other schools and groups....What a memorable event.
Salisbury High School
One of the current productions of the show touring the country features the gifted Pennsylvania actor and blacksmith, Robert Weick, as the bigger than life figure of Karl Marx. In a performance of passion, humanity and humor, Weick brings the character of Marx to life. With Zinn¹s blessing, Weick has updated and altered the script to relate to current events and relevant figures in the world today. In this specific show, Marx appears in Ferndale, Michigan, in a Methodist church, and quotes from the New York Times about today¹s labor struggles and current government statistics about the distribution of wealth. He defends his theories, albeit complex and often misinterpreted, as being totally relevant to today¹s conditions. He rails against the war machine and capitalisms endless drive for profits.
In this lively performance, Marx chugs down a beer between stories about his boils, his family¹s poverty, his bouts with the enormous anarchist Bakunin, his attractive housekeeper, the glory of the Paris Commune, the misapplication of his theories in history, and many more moving personal stories that inform and entertain.
The show received a standing ovation during each performance, not only in applause for Weick¹s convincing and passionate portrayal, but for the power of Marx¹s convictions that there CAN be a better world and his theories correctly applied are STILL valid, coupled with Zinn¹s optimistic message that where there is struggle there¹s hope. People left the Methodist Church charged and inspired, grateful that Marx ³had a second coming.²
PWW Cultural Page
The room was abuzz with anticipatory chatter. Pink Floyd's "Money" began playing over the speakers, causing a hush to fall over the audience. Illuminated by soft lighting, a man appeared in the doorway, the living embodiment of a long-dead historical figure.
Actor Bob Weick, dressed to the nines and fully bearded, brought Karl Marx back to life for one night in the one-man play, "Marx in Soho," on Friday.
For an hour, the audience experienced a range of emotions. They laughed, cheered and listened somberly as Marx recalled both humorous and sorrowful moments in his personal and professional life, from memories of his daughter Eleanor to the criticism he received for his publications, including "Das Kapital."
At the play's end, the audience showered Weick with thunderous applause and rose to their feet in a standing ovation.
Editor and writer Heath Silberfeld came to the play hoping to be "entertained, validated and educated." "And all of those things happened," Silberfeld said.
Joe Courter, the co-editor of the Gainesville Iguana, helped to make the event happen and was "really pleased with the turnout." Courter said. "... tonight shows that people are hungry for events like this, something that challenges them."
The Independent Alligator On-Line
Thanks again for the opportunity to expose my class to your production. It was truly a good marriage of excellent writing and acting. What better way to learn about Marx and his ideas than from the man himself. This is a prime example of differentiating instruction in and excitng and interactive way; It is teaching and learning the way it is supposed to be.
High School Social Studies and Ecomnomics Teacher
Weick did a great job, especially in a one man show. He acted very passionately through the mind of Karl Marx. Although the words are through the mind of Howard Zinn, Weick does agree with it. This contributed to his true feelings also being greatly expressed. Although the set was just a table and two chairs, I felt that it gave a certain atmosphere where everything was kept calm and gave a conversational surrounding.
High School Student
On October twenty eighth my AP American Systems class was invited to attend the one hour play of Marx In Soho. Honestly I was quite skeptical, just because of the mere fact that it was for history class; I was expecting a play that would put me to sleep, especially because it was a one-man production. So I walked into the audion, took my seat, and got ready to be bored, but just the opposite happened. Marx in Soho truly make the audience think about where our society is headed. It taught us more about socialism and Marx, about people and taught me more about myself It was truly a great production, which surprised me. Who knew that one man, and a small table with some items on it could hold my attention for an entire hour.
High School Student
Bob Weick, aka Karl Marx, invigorated every corner of our home recently with his performance of "Marx in Soho." Bob visted us in Bangor, Pa., in our renovated church, built 1890, which was also a synagogue at one point in its history. About 60 people, including local high school students, sat captivated during his discourse. Several have phoned me since then just to exclaim once more how thrilled they were to be present. The force of Marx's admonitions, contrasted with reflective thought, presented this history-book character as a human being, striking chords of sympathy in us. Bob Weick expanded our spirits and linked us, the working public, with a spokesperson for the exploited mass of humanity. He dropped the hard questions of labor, capitalism, greed, and gain into our laps. Thus confronted, we were forced to consider how our actions shape our own lives and those of millions worldwide. We thank Bob for conveying these points so masterfully!
Anna Maria Caldara
I thought the performance by Weick was exceptional. for a one man play, it was as entertaining as it could have been and it was all due to Weick. He is a talented actor that kept the audience laughing. I enjoyed the performance and the play was well written by Zinn. I would recommend this play to anyone with a sense of humor and an interest in history.
High School Student
I have always been confused when I have read about Marx’s ideas but with the performance of this actor some of my confusion has been diminished. It was helpful to hear the thoughts of Marx come out of someone who is in character to be like him. I now have a better understanding of his thoughts regarding how money should be spent within the nation. What I enjoyed best about the play is that it made Marx come alive and to humanize him. He has always been a name on a piece of paper but now I am aware that he was married and had children. Marx, now, is not just someone I have had to learn about to pass a test. He was real.
Over 150 people attended the one-man act, "Marx in Soho" at the Historic Matheson Museum Friday night. The play, starring Bob Weick as Karl Marx, brought laughs, applause, and tears from audience members, who shared intimate space with the actor for a little over an hour. The one act consisted of Weick, a table, three chairs and a glass, as Weick moved along the stage, spouting lines from the Manifesto, Kapital, and other Marxist papers, all culminating in the dramatic howl, "Workers of the world, unite!" The actor also shared facts about the philosopher's life, reflecting on his family, friendships, and rivalries. Overall, the show was a great success, proving that even during the summer, the Gainesville community is eager for timely, alternative art and information. The Civic Media Center thanks all those who came out.
Management of the Civic Media Center
I want to thank you for bringing the play to Haverford. It created a buzz on campus in the following days and I know that other faculty besides myself talked about it in their classes. One of my colleagues told me that her high school aged daughter thought it was absolutely brilliant.
With a blast from the past, the auditorium of Easton Area High School was transformed into the perfect setting for Bob Weick's production of Zinn's "Marx in Soho." In one short hour, he mystified the audience with the story of his life, added humor to typically dull discussions, and intrigued the crowd with interesting facts. Weick enlightened the viewers with more than just Marx's influence in politics, but gave insight to his personal life, family, and friends. Broadening horizons, Weick explains life during the mid-1880s perfectly, down to describing his daily struggle to live during tough times. By showing phenomenal emotions and feelings, a sense of realism is felt by the audience, creating a completely believable act. In fact, one would honestly believe that Weick was actually Karl Marx, himself! By the end of the act, the audience was inspired by his words of wisdom, whether or not they are supporters of his popular theories or not. Weick was definitely a worthwhile contribution to all of history's curriculum and created a new kind of learning experience for the students of Easton Area High School.
Stacy Litz, Student at Easton High School
Overall, I thought this play was great for a college campus because it was informative about an important subject; it included plenty of humor, and was not too long for the students to lose their interest.
I thought that the play was absolutely riveting. I think it was fabulously written and executed. I loved it. I'd say that the general reception was less warm, because it may have been too jarring for people who hadn't considered the things that Marx's character was yelling about before going to the play. Also, I believe that many are prejudiced against Marx and such a favorable, even-handed representation of Marx in the play disturbed their preconceived notions of the man. Feeling that Marx was misunderstood and being a fan of his before the play, the play deepened my respect for him and revived my fervent interest in his ideas. I would love to see the play several more times and I am indebted that the Humanities Center agreed to sponsor bringing him here, and that the actor put on such a phenomenal show.
Going to see Marx in Soho I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Neither, I think were most of other students or professors that attended the show but most, I think, enjoyed it immensely. Marx is often seen as dull, dry and outdated – a difficult writer to understand, but Marx in Soho was fresh, fiery and entertaining. Enjoyable to many, interesting to others and no doubt offensive to somebody (as all great theatre should be). Marx in Soho brought a long dead revolutionary to Columbus Ohio. Perhaps he should visit more often.
The meaning of the play actually moved me and made me want to become more radical. The play caused me to realize that one of the major problems with society was the fact that people remain silent when something has to be said. The reason why we have only been able to advance technologically and not socially is because people are not willing to stand up and say something provocative. We need to start standing up for what we believe in and why we stand for it. As Marx said in the play “to be radical is to grasp the root of a problem, when the problem is us”.
Theatre is a form of art that I have never really taken interest in. I have only seen a few plays in my life and can barely recall any of them. Recently I attended a play titled Marx in Soho with my friend and classmate Danielle Manring. This one-man performance sponsored by the Honors Program took place in the Bridge of Learning at Capital University. The sole actor Howard Zinn overcame many challenges in making this play great. By the end of the performance I really began to appreciate theatre as an art form.
Karen A. Blair