Friday, May 15, 2015

Why Do Samara Activists Really Want to Ban Production of ‘The Producers’?

Paul Goble


            Staunton, May 15 – Russian activists in Samara are seeking to have the authorities there ban a production of Mel Brooks’ satire “The Producers” because it contains within it what they call the “fascist and homosexual play, ‘Springtime for Hitler,’” which they insists “mocks” the great victory of the Russian people.


Such a lack of appreciation of what the play and the play within the play actually do is perhaps not surprising, given the lack of a sense of humor among such fanatics.  But the Russian authorities may have an even more compelling reason for banning this play than the one outlined by the two Russian nationalist groups.


And it is this: as anyone who has actually read of seen the play or movie of the same title knows, the real story of “The Producers” is not about promoting Hitler but about how two producers seek but ultimately fail to exploit a loophole in the law to corruptly enrich themselves. That story cuts far too close to the bone of the Putin power vertical today.


            The Union of the Peoples of Samara Oblast and the Samara branch of the Russian National Center have appealed to the oblast’s culture minister and procurator to take action to block this play by preventing the expenditure of budgetary funds on it (


            “In these holy and celebratory days for every citizen and patriot that have preceded the celebration of the anniversary of the Great Victory, we with anger have learned from the media that the Samara Drama Theater using budget funds is preparing to put on the play “The Producers” (“Springtime for Hitler”), the two groups say.


            Moreover, they continue, “according to information openly available on the web, rehearsals for the musical in which fascism and Nazism are presented in such a harmless light as phenomena capable of winning the sympathy of society have been taking place” and in which “propaganda of homosexuality and non-traditional sex relations is carried out.”


            “All this ugliness is being financed out of the budget of Samara oblast, including money for a contract with Paolo Landi, the director who has come from abroad.  We consider this impermissible and appeal to you with a request to check these facts,” the appeal continues because such actions “must not remain unpunished.”


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