[OPE-L] "Marx in Soho" as reading material/entertainment for econ. students

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Sep 30 2005 - 18:01:16 EDT

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The Good 5 Cent Cigar - News
Issue: 9/30/05

One-man play humanizes Marx, communist ideals

By Jenna Hanlon

09/30/05 - The University of Rhode Island Honors Program brought Marx
in SoHo, a one-man show featuring actor Brian Jones, to Edwards Hall
last night for one of its Diversity Week events.

The 75-minute one-act, written by Howard Zinn, engaged the audience
by shedding light on the theories of philosopher Karl Marx, who wrote
about Communistic ideals in The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.
In the play, Marx returns to Earth to clear up misconceptions about
his life's work.

"The point of the play is to separate Marxism and Stalinism," Jones
said. "How communism was written and how it was applied [to the
Soviet Union] were two completely different things. There are many
misconceptions about socialism."

In the play, Marx speaks about his life, family, struggles and triumphs.

After the play, there was a question and answer session with the
actor, which turned into a discussion of the current state of affairs
and how Marxism may be applied to the present.

"The script humanizes Marx and his ideas of a socialist society. It
is generally well received by audiences because the author does an
excellent job disarming the subject and truthfully interprets Marx's
life," Jones said.

Jones has been touring the country with the play for six years.
During the question and answer session, Jones added his opinions
relating to the importance of keeping Marxism alive.

" Marx's ideas are more relevant now than when he was alive," he
said. "People have incredible potential that is squandered in today's
[capitalist] society."

Jones is a high school teacher in New York and is a member of the
International Socialist Organization. By traveling around the
country, he hopes to expose the man behind the ideas that sparked a


The Good 5 Cent Cigar - Entertainment

Issue: 9/29/05

Marx's ghost to appear tonight at Edwards

By Robert Hanson

09/29/05 - Usually I make a point of not consorting with dead men,
because that's disrespectful. Tonight, however, I'll make an

At 7:30 p.m. the ghost of Karl Marx will be appearing before an
audience of University of Rhode Island students in Edwards
Auditorium. Unfortunately for ghost hunters, this will be a fictional
ghost played by African-American actor Brian Jones.

Jones will present a one-man play based on Howard Zinn's Marx in
Soho, He will play the ghost of Karl Marx, who convinces the
powers-that-be in the afterlife to let him return to Earth to clear
his name. Due to a bureaucratic error he is sent to Soho in New York
City instead of his former hometown of London.

Economics Professor Ric McIntyre worked to bring the play to URI. He
said he decided to bring it down because he uses the book to teach in
an introductory economics course.

"I've been having my freshmen read this book for the last couple of
years and I thought it would be fun to see the play," he said. "It's
pitched at a pretty general level, it's pretty easy to read and it's
focused a lot on Marx's life," and not just economics.

He added, "It humanizes economics a little bit."

Students need not be interested in economics to enjoy the play.
McIntyre said that students might enjoy the play because it offers a
view of how Marx (who was always a critic) may have viewed today's
society, and not just in terms of economics.

"You don't get Marxist economics out of this, you get his sense of
radical criticism, you get a sense about what he stands for," he
said. "He reads from today's paper to show that it's still valid,
he's angry that the Soviet Union and Stalin distorted his teachings
... and he says he is not himself a Marxist."

Beyond that, McIntyre said the critiques would go beyond "I don't
like George Bush," so students need not worry that the play will be
biased against any particular political leaning.

"In Marx more than anywhere else you find a radical critique of
society," he said.

McIntyre decided to bring Jones and the play to URI in part because
he took an honors class to the play a few years ago. He spoke highly
of the play and thought students would both benefit from and enjoy it.

"The actor who does this is very good," McIntyre said. "It's funny,
it's entertaining and it makes you think ... so thinking and laughing
at the same time, this is a good thing, right?"

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