In the Jungle of Cities (Im Dickicht der Städte) is a play by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. Written between 1921 and 1924, it received its first theatrical production under the title Im Dickicht ("In the jungle") at the Residenztheater in Munich, opening on 9 May 1923. This production was directed by Erich Engel, with set design by Caspar Neher. The cast included Otto Wernicke as Shlink the lumber dealer, Erwin Faber as George Garga, and Maria Koppenhöfer as his sister Mary. Im Dickicht was produced at Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater in Berlin, where Brecht had been employed as a dramaturg. The production opened on 29 October 1924, with the same director and scenographer, but in a cut version with a new prologue (reproduced below) and the title Dickicht: Untergang einer Familie ("Jungle: decline of a family"). Fritz Kortner played Shlink and Walter Frank played George, with Franziska Kinz, Paul Bildt, Mathias Wieman, and Gerda Müller also in the cast. Willett and Manheim report that this production "was not a success".
Brecht revised the play almost to its final form—now with the title Im Dickicht der Städte and a subtitle proclaiming "the struggle between two men in the great city of Chicago"—in 1927, when it was produced at the Hessisches Landestheater in Darmstadt, directed by Carl Ebert.
In the prologue to the play, Brecht informs his audience:
- "You are in Chicago in 1912. You are about to witness an inexplicable wrestling match between two men and observe the downfall of a family that has moved from the prairies to the jungle of the big city. Don't worry your heads about the motives of the fight; concentrate on the stakes. Judge the contenders' technique impartially, and keep your eyes fixed on the finish."