Do you resent my coming back and irritating you?”

MARX IN SOHO by Howard Zinn featuring Derrick Jenkins

MARX IN SOHO by Howard Zinn combines the comical and the sober to create an insightful, witty “play on history” that engages the audience with Marx’s personal story along with an education in history and unwavering political argument.

Through divine intervention and cosmic agitation, Karl Marx receives the opportunity to return to earth – for just one hour – to clear his name. BUT due to an otherworldly bureaucratic error by the “afterlife authorities”, he isn’t dispatched to his old stomping ground in London but rather to Soho in New York – where he encounters a present that makes him reel at the same capitalist injustices that boggled his mind 150 years ago

In this whimsical account, we discover a different Marx, who is not only a philosopher and revolutionary but also a loving father and husband. We not only find out about Marx’s private, intellectual and political life but also his thoughts on today’s world!

“Don’t you wonder: why is it necessary to declare me dead again and again?”

The spectre of Karl Marx materializes on a theatre stage in New York, complaining about the notion that “Marx is Dead”, and proceeds to regale the audience with personal reminiscences about living in a London slum with his wife Jenny and daughter Eleanor, disputes with anarchists, and the boils on his butt; revealing a little known human side of the iconic figure.

Marx is neither a saint nor a screw up but someone who refused the easy life for himself and his family for the sake of workers everywhere. He criticizes inequality, war, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, free market capitalism but also the unspeakable horrors of the Stalinist Soviet regime of the “post-Marx” era – advising humanity not to engage in debate between capitalism and socialism: ‘Let’s just speak of using the incredible wealth of the earth for human beings. Give people what they need… Don’t ask who deserves it. Every human being deserves it.’

Of course, Marx himself is not beyond critique and his severest critic is his wife Jenny who accuses him of being arrogant and intolerant for not understanding women’s situation despite writing about equality. She recognizes that he is a philosopher first and a revolutionary second and suggests that he forget his intellectual readers and address the workers.

Karl and Jenny Marx had moved to London after being expelled from several European countries. They lived in the grubby Soho district, and pawned almost every valuable piece for their survival, even his coat and shoes. Revolutionaries from all over the continent arrived in London, trooping in and out of their home.

His wife Jenny had a tremendous impact on Marx’s life and he wholeheartedly gives her credit for his publications; it was she who copied the manuscripts from Marx’s writings because only she could understand his awful hand writing. It was Jenny and their brilliant daughter Eleanor who harshly took him to task when he was fumbling.

Before departing the stage, and returning back to where ever he came from (…back to the company of Mark Twain!), Marx views his presence in New York as a resurrection of sorts, declaring: ‘Do you resent my coming back and irritating you? Look at this way. It is the second coming. Christ couldn’t make it, so Marx came…’

MARX IN SOHO by Howard Zinn featuring Derrick Jenkins

Performances –

Monday, August 2 at 20:00 hrs in MERLIN


Thursday, September 16 at 20:00 hrs in THEATER AM OLGAECK


Photos by Uka Meissner deRuiz

In cooperation with DAZ – Deutsch Amerikanisches Zentrum

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