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The Childhood Of Bertolt Brecht, a 14 minute 3-d animation with dialogue and music. The Childhood Of Bertolt Brecht is Weinstein's fourth computer animated film. It is the most technically ambitious one, due to the fact that he invented five new characters for it, created three songs, created a virtual copper town and a train interior modeled after the train set from Hitchcock's North By Northwest. The abstract narrative concerns a disgruntled todler who is scammed out of his money by three pigs using a classic con. Disillusioned, he boards a train where a fish sings him a song from within a martini glass. Her song is of a rich woman who dreams of being poor, based on the character of Dorothea from Middlemarch. The song fills him with revolutionary spirit. He gives an impassioned speach about the future. He announces a performer. A roast chicken slides on stage and an old man climbs out of it. He sings a bitter song about the joys of poverty. This piece was first exhibited at the Sonnabend Gallery and has been exhibited at The Mint Museum, Charlotte, Young Projects, LA, Ken Johnson, NY Times, Oct 29, 2011.

"When the revolution comes," declaims the toddler wearing Buddhist monk pajamas, "we will cut all the high heels off all the high-heel shoes and turn them into golf tees." Furthermore, "people will call each other 'sweetie pie' and 'poopsie.' " Talking, people-eating animals will evolve into being, and the world will come to a dark end. bThe magnetic, infantile star of "The Childhood of Bertolt Brecht," Matthew Weinstein's hallucinatory, digitally animated video short, also sings complaints about his drug-taking big sister and plays the mark in a skit involving three con-artist pigs. In other musical numbers in this bizarre variety show a scrawny fellow in 18th-century red tails and gold knee britches emerges from a roast chicken to sing and spryly dance to the rousing sounds of a brass-and-drum band. And an exotic fish warbles a rich woman's cluelessness: "I've always had so much, you know — to be poor must be wonderful."

The video has a primitive look compared with Pixar's seamless naturalism. But that enhances its bitterly satiric, Brechtian theatricality. (Paintings also on view resembling stills from the video are not nearly as captivating, though a cast-aluminum, glossy pink piggy-bank sculpture has some Jeff Koonsian presence.) To produce his little agitprop epic Mr. Weinstein had the help of professional musicians and theater folk, including the actress Blair Brown. But it is his remarkable versatility as writer, director and animator that makes it so gripping. I hope there will be more chapters to come.

 

Script for Childhood of Bertolt Brecht

By Matthew Weinstein
(A blank stage)
(BRECHT comes on stage, calling for his dog)
BRECHT
WHERE ARE YOU?

(THE LITTLE DOG is behind him the whole time. It follows him and hides behind him when he turns around)

(THE LITTLE DOG waits for the right moment and jumps up and pulls down BRECHT'S pants)

(They struggle)

BRECHT
GET OFF OF ME!

LITTLE DOG
GRRRRR!

BRECHT
SCRAM!

(BRECHT kicks THE LITTLE DOG, and THE LITTLE DOG runs off stage)

(MUSIC starts to play)

(BRECHT faces the audience. A SPOTLIGHT)

(A sign descends, 'THE MY BIG SISTER TAKES DRUGS SONG.')

(BRECHT begins to sing)

THE MY BIG SISTER TAKES DRUGS SONG

BRECHT

(sung)

My big sister, she takes drugs.
She does stupid things,
She says stupid things.
She thinks she's funny,
She thinks she's smart.
You know what?
She's not.

(Spoken)
If you were my big sister you'd have your own 54 inch plasma TV in your room because you rode your bike down the interstate with a pillowcase over your head until you got hit by a car and had to spend 5 months in your room because you broke your back and meanwhile, 

(sung)

My computer's so old,
It's about to croke,
It's so slow,
I wish big sister
Would give it come coke.

I have problems,
I have problems too!
It's you big sister,
My problem is you!

Big sister got a machine,
To help her relax.
Soothing sounds,
On different tracks.
Push a button,
The sound of the ocean.
Push another,
The sound of your little brother,
Saying,
'Screw you big sister!
With your ipod full of
Alternative rock.
When I get stressed
I have to jerk off in a sock.

I have problems,
I have problems too!
It's you big sister,
My problem is you!

'Your poor big sister,'
Aunt Lilly says.
'She's feeling no pain,
Aunt Lilly, It's true.
She's in her room getting high,
And I'm stuck here talking to you.'

"Why so young and so angry?'
Aunt Lilly asks.
With a look on her face,
Like she's shitting out tacks.
I'll feel better, Aunt Lilly,
When I'm older and rich,
And I'll think of big sister
Giving head in a ditch.

(END OF SONG)

(A STAGE SET of a stylized train station slides in)

(BRECHT takes his place, waiting for the train on the platform)

(PIG 1 enters. He is carrying a blue Chinese paper parasol)

PIG1
Hello Friend, where you headed?

BRECHT
Chicago.

PIG 1
Same here. Business or pleasure?

BRECHT
Business… I hope.

PIG 1
Say, how's about we take a stroll? I'll buy you a drink. The train doesn't leave for a while yet.

(PIG 2 comes around the corner. He is carrying a yellow Chinese paper parasol)

PIG 2
Say, can either of you spare a smoke?

PIG 1
(Rude)
Nope.

PIG 2
Not from around here, are you.

PIG 1
Why do you say that?

PIG 2
Because folks around here are polite. Folks around here say, 'no. I'm sorry I'm all out,' or 'no, sorry, this is my last one.' In fact, folks around here would give you their last smo…

PIG 1
All right, All right… here!

(PIG 1 produces a cigarette)

PIG 2
Forget about it, I don't want it.

BRECHT
Fine, don't take it. 

PIG 2
(To PIG 1)
Your girl friend's got a mouth on her.

BRECHT
Why you…

PIG 1
(To BRECHT)
Relax, tiger.
(To PIG 2)
Look buddy. Let's all calm down. Take the damn smoke and let's walk away, happy as nuns in pain. Or…. Hey, how's about we flip for it? Odd man takes all.
(To BRECHT)
You want a piece of this action?

BRECHT
Sure.

(PIG 1 holds out a pack of smokes to PIG 2)

PIG 1
Smoke? 

PIG 2
Why not.

(PIG 2 takes a smoke and lights up)

(As PIG 2 lights his cigarette, PIG 1 takes the opportunity to whisper to BRECHT)

PIG 1
(Whisper)
Let's have a little fun with this dope. You call heads every time and I'll call tails every time.

(BRECHT nods in agreement at PIG1)

(They each hold up a coin)

(They flip and smack)

PIG 2
Heads.

PIG 1
Tails.

BRECHT
Heads.

PIG 2
(To PIG 1)
You're the odd man, guess I owe you a smoke.

PIG 1
I'll give you a chance to get even.

(They flip and smack)

PIG 1
Tails.

BRECHT
Heads.

PIG 2
Tails.
(He sees that he's lost)
Guess I owe each of you a smoke. 

PIG1
Good thing we're only playing for smokes, if we were playing for cash you'd be washed up.

PIG 2
I've got plenty.

(PIG 2 pulls out a twenty-dollar-bill)

PIG 2
Let's make it interesting. Flip the god damned coin.

(PIG 1 pockets the 20)

PIG 1
(To BRECHT)
You in for 20?

(BRECHT hands PIG 1 a 20)

(They flip and smack)

BRECHT
Heads.

PIG 1
Tails.

PIG 2
Tails.

PIG 2
Not my day.
(He's lost. He has the fever)
Again!

(BRECHT and PIG 2 both pull out 20's, and PIG 1 pockets them)

(They flip and smack)

BRECHT
Heads.

PIG 2
Heads.

PIG 1
Tails.

PIG 2
(He's lost again)
Damn. One more time.

(BRECHT and PIG 2 pull out 20's and hand them to PIG 1)

(They flip and smack)

PIG 2
Tails.

PIG 1
Tails.

BRECHT
Heads.

(PIG 2 has lost again)

PIG 2
Not my day… Again!

PIG 1
You sure you can afford this?

(PIG 2 thrusts a 20 at PIG 1. BRECHT hands one over as well)

(They flip and smack)

PIG 2
Heads!

PIG 1
Tails.

BRECHT
Heads.

PIG 2
Damn! All right, I'm out of here.

(PIG 2 slams his coin down on the street and storms off)

(The minute PIG 2 is out of sight, PIG 1 and BRECHT bust out laughing.)

BRECHT
Now let's go get that drink. On me. We'll split our winnings at the bar.

(They walk on down the street. At the next corner PIG 2 is there. PIG 2 is mad as hell.)

PIG 2
Ah Ha! I knew it! You guys were playing me! You're a team.

BRECHT
No, we just met.

PIG 1
Don't be a sore loser bud. Look, if you want your money back… I don't want to see you strapped…

PIG 2
You planned this.

PIG 1
That's nuts.

(PIG 3 (COP) passes by. He is carrying a pink Chinese paper parasol that says 'POLICE' on it)

PIG 2
Officer. These guys just took me for 80 bucks.

PIG 1
It was just a friendly little bet, officer.

PIG 2
I want these jokers to prove that they aren't a team.

(PIG 3 (COP) thinks)

PIG 3 (COP)
How's about you guys walk off in separate directions. I'll be watching you till you're out of sight. Now remember, I'll be trailing you, and if I see you two hook up, I'm bringing you in.

PIG 1
Fine with me. 

PIG 2
I don't know I…

PIG 3 (COP)
(Threatening)
You want to maybe come down to the station and discuss gambling laws in this town?

PIG 2
(Pissed-off and defeated)
All right, all right.

(PIG 1 saunters down the street twirling his parasol, he whispers to BRECHT as he passes)

PIG 1
We'll split up the money at the train station. 

BRECHT
(Whispers back)
Got it.

(PIG 1 and BRECHT walk off in separate directions and PIG 2 and PIG 3(COP) grin at each other as the CURTAIN FALLS for a scene change) 

(Scene change, back to THE TRAIN STATION)

(BRECHT enters. He looks around, up and down the platform, no PIG 1)

CONDUCTOR'S VOICE
All aboard!

(The train starts to pull out. BRECHT takes a last look and jumps on the train. We see his face looking out the window as the train pulls out)

(CURTAIN FALLS)

(THE THREE PIGS DANCE ON STAGE in front of the curtain)

(A very short PIG DANCE)

(At the End of the PIG DANCE, the pigs turn around to show that they have coin slots in their backs. A coin drops into each pig. 'Plunk.' 'Plunk.' 'Plunk.)

(THE THREE PIGS run off stage)

(THE CURTAIN OPENS TO REVEAL a stage set of a train dining car. BRECHT is sitting at a table. He is alone and sad. He stares at a Martini with what looks like an orange olive floating in it. The background speeds by)

(THE CAMERA moves in on the martini and we see KOI 2 in there. She sings)

(A sign descends, 'THE DOROTHEA SONG.')

(During the song, THE CAMERA moves in on her, with BRECHT'S face pressed up against the glass, and then out again so we can see her singing to him)

THE DOROTHEA SONG
I remember Rome.
Red velvet curtains
Fell over my field of vision
Like a disease of the retina.

St Theresa,
What are you on?
Whatever it is,
I want some.

Too much, 
I have always had too much.
It must be wonderful to be poor.
Hungry and weak.
I can hardly stand.
The room spins 
And the beams of a flickering candle
Illuminate a soft field
Of sacred space.
The emptiness of my stomach
Strokes and arouses
The sweet spot of my soul.

Beautiful nothing.
You rip my clothing and expose me.
You freeze me and you heat me.
My back arches.
My mouth, half open,
Like a dying fish,
Ghasping in the blazing sun.

St Theresa,
What are you on?
Whatever it is,
I want some.

I remember Rome.
Red velvet curtains
Fell over my field of vision
Like a disease of the retina.
But is wasn't a disease,
It was a cure.
Only I didn't know it,
Until I returned to this town,
This town called 'Awful'
Across the river from 'Miserable,'
In the Hamlet of 'Dull.'

Little match, tiny fire.
Burn the thatch and wood
And rustic beams.
Spare the ancient carved stone
Molded into upturned eyes
And clasping hands,
And ghasps,
And sighs,
And dying agonies,
Too sweet to feel
On a muddy walk to town
On a drizzling Sunday.

St Theresa,
What are you on?
Whatever it is,
I want some.

(END OF THE DOROTHEA SONG)

(THE CURTAIN CLOSES, and BRECHT steps in front of it)

BRECHT
Ladies and Gentlemen, when the revolution comes we will cut all the heels off of all the high-heeled shoes and we will turn them into golf tees. And then we will build housing blocks on the golf courses and you will ask 'but what will we do with all these golf tees?' And we will smile and sigh and shake our heads.

When the revolution comes, people will call each other sweetie-pie and kitten and poopsie. They will blow kisses at each other and hug without touching. And we will forgive them because we will know that this behavior is a part of something bigger, much bigger, something so big that space people will crane their necks out of their spaceships to see it, but we will cover the earth with a gigantic piece of red velvet, and we will say, 'no, NO! You can't see it yet. It isn't finished.'

When the revolution comes, strange new animals will introduce themselves to us. Some of them will become very famous for singing and dancing, and some of them will just be regular animals, choosing to eat us or submit to us. It will be very difficult for us to kill and eat a talking animal, but they will have no problem killing and eating us, even though we talk. This inequity can only be solved by a massive war in which every living thing on earth will die. But in the meantime, Ladies and Gentlemen, a song.

(BRECHT leaves the stage)

(THE CURTAIN OPENS)

(A BLANK STAGE with A GIANT ROAST CHICKEN in the center. It is on a pewter platter with roast potatoes and rosemary)

(APPLAUSE for the roast chicken)

(MUSIC begins)

(A sign descends, 'THE DAS KAPITAL SONG')

(THE UGLY OLD MAN climbs out of the roast chicken He shakes off some gravy and begins to sing.)

THE DAS KAPITAL SONG:

Your new car won't love you back,
But neither will your wife.
Your kids treat you like a sack of crap.
Your dog has his own life.
You're a rock candy swizzle stick,
Melting in a rum and coke.
You're a decaf, fat free coffee gimmick
Satisfying as a worn out joke.
You're a night-time dream girl
Fading after a nocturnal emission.
You're on top of the world,
But the world's under the ocean.

Put your feet up on my desk,
Sit in my cozy leather chair.
We'll talk about the lack of risk,
While I run my fingers through your hair.
I'll sit on your lap.
And I'll make sure to lock the door.
You'll give my ass a little slap.
And I'll act like a filthy…

(A CYMBAL CRASH drowns out the word 'Whore')

There's probably no greater bore,
Than the pale amusements of the poor.
'What a cute hotel!'
Don't mind the smell, 
We'll have a ball!
Even though the bathroom's down the hall.

(DANCE)

I am the place that eats this meat,
And I am the place where it comes out.
I am the place above these two feet,
A man's a man, 
From the front and turned about.
The rest of me is a galaxy of things,
Attached by fragile web-like strings.

The only infallible truth,
Is that man infallibly lies.
If justice can't produce a truce,
Then strength is justified.
In the words of Linda Blair,
'You're all gonna die up there!'

Ah, my friends, what's real is my but,
My scratched up knees when I act like a…

(A cymbal crash drowns out the word 'slut')

The rest is just the smudged mascara 
Of a pretty thief named Samsara.

(THE UGLY OLD MAN bows)
(FADE TO BLACK)
THE END