These days, Fleck is appearing in Charles Mee's The Berlin Circle, which is receiving rave notices at the newly opened Evidence Room. The work is a "re-imagining" of Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, set in East Germany in 1989--just as the Berlin Wall is coming down. Fleck plays experimental playwright/director Heiner Müller, who initially grovels for government funding but goes on to defend the artist's role in society.
TM: There's a not-so-subtle poetic justice in your latest role, I'd say.
FLECK: Art and politics. Who'd have thought it?
TM: There are a lot of layers to the play itself, which is inspired by a 14th-century Chinese play, which inspired Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle, which inspired a Chinese opera.
FLECK: Oh, yes. It's one big parfait.
TM: Not to mention your own involvement in it.
FLECK: It's enough make you sick, isn't it?
TM: This is a bit different from your last show, Irma Vep, where you played how many characters? And had how many costume changes?
FLECK: This time, I spend the whole play in one vomit-stained T-shirt. And no dresses, whatsoever. I don't play any girls. Just one guy, full of testosterone. Wait--I don't know if I'd go that far. But he is a man.
TM: A real man. I mean, an actual man. A character from history.
FLECK: Right. He's one of the most revered playwrights in Europe. What a thinker--and very dark. After the fall of the wall, he said something like: "Democracy bores me to death." Socialism--at least he knew how to work it.
TM: You seem to know how to work it pretty well yourself. You've got your own solo stuff, but still find time to dabble in LA theater...
FLECK: Diversify, diversify, diversify!
TM: ...and to do TV roles.
FLECK: Money, money, money! I like acting. It's fun. And, in this town, it seems to give you a little bit more validity.
TM: Come again? Acting gives you validity?
FLECK: I was at an audition once, and somebody said: "You're a performance artist? What does that mean? You can't act?" You know how these cats think. And doing plays sure takes the pressure off having to write. I was up until five o'clock in the morning last night.
TM: Don't you have a piece coming up on June 25 for the ASK Theater Projects' Common Ground Festival?
FLECK: It's called Interview with a Degenerate.
TM: Nice title.
FLECK: I had to think of a name before I'd written it, and I thought, "Hey, that'll mess with a few people." It's all about The King Family. Are you old enough to remember them?
TM: You mean the American version--albeit equally Aryan--of the Von Trapps?
FLECK: Right. Thank God for hair dye! The piece is all about my twisted fantasy surrounding the singing King family.
TM: Does politics enter into it?
FLECK: Well--Heiner Müller said that, in communism, the artist serves an important function; in capitalism, the artist is like fast food. But hey, Americans love fast food, so...
TM: Let them eat hamburgers!
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