5

WEDNESDAY

Enter “FBI” and “Bertolt Brecht” into your favorite search engine and somewhere you’ll find 369 pages of internal-security-investigation material, courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act. A skim of ’40s surveillance notes on “the Brecht subject” (alias Bert) is a hoot—albeit a disturbing one—for fans of the German playwright who’s responsible for the Epic Theater movement and such comically sinister works as The Threepenny Opera. It’s those records that inspired The Brecht File, a play by George Tabori. The contemporary dramatist examines the humiliating conclusion of Brecht’s six-year stay in the United States. After fleeing the Nazis and sojourning in Scandinavia, Brecht arrived in Hollywood to write screenplays. There he fell under the watchful eye of J. Edgar Hoover, who ultimately forced him, along with the rest of the “Hollywood Nineteen,” to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee in November 1947. Shortly thereafter, Brecht and his family promptly abandoned America. This pitch-black political comedy will be staged by the Scena Theater at 7 p.m. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Hammer Auditorium, 500 17th St. NW. $20. (703) 684-7990. (Neda Ulaby)