October 29, 1985

Charnel House Blues
By D.E.

Damien Leake, toothsome and goofy-looking, has a likable way of shrugging off his lines that keeps the character from going mushy. Itís a terrific performance: his Frank is simply cursed with common sense, and heís baffled by the pointless hatred whipped up around him. The Killing Floor swells, nay groans, with exhortatory speeches (and a wonderful union-music pastiche by Elizabeth Swados). But itís never agitprop: itís simply set in a tumultuous public arena, where every private gesture and sentiment has ramifications for all. The Killing Floor has no namby-pamby illusions about international brotherhood. One recalls Brechtís famous dictum--"First comes food, then comes moralityĒ--as Bill recites a fascinating history of workers versus workers under managementís approving gaze: the Irish got there first, then the Germans fought the Irish, the Bohemians fought the Germans, the Lithuanians fought the Bohemians, the Poles fought the Lithuanians, and now the "coloreds" are fighting the Poles. Whatís a butcher to do? Maybe learn the lessons of history, instead of sharpening a cleaver and taking to the streets. read more>>
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