China Prepares for Das Kapital: The Musical

Marx's treatise gets some much-needed singing and dancing
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2009 10:38 AM CDT
Workers in this Chinese factory may have something to learn at the musical theater adaptation of Karl Marx's Das Kapital.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – Karl Marx's Das Kapital offers hundreds of pages of dense German prose on class struggle and modes of production—so why not add some singing and dancing? That's the idea of several Chinese producers who are mounting a Das Kapital musical, which promises a live band and Vegas-style theatrics to liven up the communist's magnum opus. As the Guardian notes, the team will be adding a barebones plot to make the economic treatise stageworthy.

The musical takes place in a company whose workers learn about surplus value, Das Kapital's major theme, and begin to realize that their boss is exploiting them. A professor from one of China's top universities is consulting, and the director maintained that "Marx's theories cannot be distorted." This is not the first attempt to dramatize Das Kapital; a few years ago a German theatre group mounted a play that one critic described as "something of a lecture."