Bitte wenden!

Der Sonntag stand mit dem Theaterpreis für Herbert Fritsch und einer Buchvorstellung im Zeichen von Abschied und Kulturkampf. Doch wo beginnt das Neue?

Das Zu-Ende-Gehen lässt sich im Theater nicht vermeiden. Mit den Figuren geht es in den Stücken oft zu Ende und so gern das Theater auch die ganze Welt wäre: Irgendwann geht auch der intensivste Theaterabend zu Ende und alle gehen. Das gilt sogar für Frank Castorf, auch wenn er das Zu-Ende-Gehen in seinen ausufernden Inszenierungen und seiner bemerkenswert langen Intendanz immer so weit wie möglich heraus geschoben hat. Continue reading Bitte wenden!

Sind Sie vielleicht der…?

Schminke, Kostüme und dreißig Meter Luftlinie: Schauspieler nach der Vorstellung wieder zu erkennen, kann schwierig sein. Anläufe zu einem spontanen Interview.

Michael Althen hat einmal geschrieben, er sei eigentlich nur Filmkritiker geworden, damit er mit all den schönen Frauen, die er sonst nur von der Leinwand kennt, auch mal Auge in Auge sprechen kann, zum Beispiel in einem Interview. Diese Aussage ist natürlich ziemlich korrupt und würde heutzutage im unrühmlichen Abfalleimer der Altherrenphantasie landen. Aber es ist auch ein Körnchen Wahrheit darin. Im Theater verhält es sich nicht anders, die Zuschauer lieben ihre Schauspieler. Continue reading Sind Sie vielleicht der…?

„Ich danke dem Geist dieses Hauses!”

Nach frenetischem Applaus und Standing Ovations für „der die mann“ fand der Regisseur Herbert Fritsch auf der Premierenfeier rührende Worte für die Belegschaft der Berliner Volksbühne und rühmte den Geist des Hauses am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Es klang beinahe wie eine Abschiedsrede. Wir haben sie mitgeschnitten. Continue reading „Ich danke dem Geist dieses Hauses!”

"First I'm a drunken old pathetic mother and then I'm like a fuck monster" – a chat with Kate Strong

Praised by the jury for her “wonderfully overwrought, stylized circus figures,” British Berlin-based actress and dancer Kate Strong is performing in the Theatertreffen for the second year in a row in a production from versatile director Karin Henkel. Gerhart Hauptmann’s “The Rats” is set in an end of the 19th century Berlin and interweaves a traditional narrative with commentary on the nature and societal role of theater.

Summer Banks: Part of the concept for this “The Rats”  from Schauspiel Köln is that the performers use different styles of acting. How do your three characters, and speaking English, work within that?

Kate Strong: For the first two I’m completely fake: it has to be completely artificial. First I’m a drunken old pathetic mother and then I’m like a fuck monster. The last one’s from the Rhineland and the text that she has is a long, long monologue which is basically garbage. She’s just inventing stuff and it’s embarrassing, because she wants to present herself as better than she is—in the upper social class and not the lower. She talks rot basically, so I do it in English.

Kate Strong dons a wig and a ridiculous dress as Frau Hassenreuter. Photo Credit: Klaus Lefebvre
Kate Strong (on the right side) dons a wig and a ridiculous dress as Frau Hassenreuter. Photo Credit: Klaus Lefebvre

Hauptmann’s work also incorporates commentary on the attempt to bring current issues in society to the stage through a form of naturalism. How does this come out in this production?

The whole time we’re talking about social dramas. Can you justify doing, bringing, can you bring social themes to the stage? Does it make any sense to change your voice and speak in different way and act as if you’re someone else? The whole time we’re questioning if you can do that or not. At the same time, we’re doing it because we use accents and dialects and we are playing fake and real and artifice.

So what do you think about naturalism? 

Boring. What your grandma can do. And that’s discussed all the way through the piece. At the same time, Lina Beckmann is in it completely. She’s a fantastic actress and you believe her all the time. You have an empathy with her: sometimes she’s offensive, but you’re still with her because she’s fucking good at what she does. In that sense, it does bloody work. Continue reading "First I'm a drunken old pathetic mother and then I'm like a fuck monster" – a chat with Kate Strong

My First Volksbühne

The Volksbühne Berlin raced ahead at this year’s Theatertreffen, producing 3 of the 10 best productions of the season and leaving the rest of the German-speaking theatre world trailing behind. Having never been, I decided it was high time for an undercover mission to find out the secret to their success.
My sources had informed me that the Volksbühne was the hipster place to be. Of course, as a first-time detective I need to keep an open mind in the great hipster debate, and try to get an accurate feel for who is spending their Friday night round at Herr Regisseur Castorf’s house. My first clues, however, confirm my sources are reliable; lining the steps of the foyer are a suspicious number of … yes, young people! What’s more, they don’t look unlike this rather scathing approximation. Then again, in the grand scheme of fashion, neither do I. (Mental note to work on my disguises). Beyond the foyer is copious space around the bar to relax pre- and post-show, in the familiar “shabby chic” style, mismatched furniture and worn-out paintwork. So far, so hipster.
Inside the auditorium it’s not so straightforward. Maybe it’s because grey hair and bald heads catch the light, but to me the age-range (and by extension, style choices) of the audience seems to go beyond the hipster cut-off point. Now, this may have been because those hipsters outside were also running late, just like me and my companion (who’d understandably needed some last-minute convincing that his German would be up to a 4-hour adaptation of a Dostoevsky novel without surtitles), whereas the more mature audience members had showed up early, hogging the best seats.
Continue reading My First Volksbühne

Rauschen in der Rübe

“Was heißt und zu welchem Ende erdulden wir Regietheater?” lautete der Titel einer Veranstaltung, zu der die Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg am gestrigen Sonntag einlud. Auftritt: Gerhard Stadelmaier, Großkritiker der FAZ und seit dem Frankfurter “Spiralblock-Skandal” auch einer breiteren Öffentlichkeit bekannt. Eine Zusammenfassung seiner Rede in Stichpunkten.

Continue reading Rauschen in der Rübe