Jahrmarkt der Grausamkeiten

In der Inszenierung von Sebastian Nübling und dem Ensemble der Münchner Kammerspiele dreht sich ein Kettenkarussell um die trashige Spießigkeit einer US-amerikanischen Kleinstadt. „Orpheus steigt herab“ von Tennessee Williams – eine Parabel über Fremdenfeindlichkeit und über den verzweifelten Versuch, die Liebe zum Anderen zu retten.

Zeichnung: Henrike Terheyden/ KENDIKE
Zeichnung: Henrike Terheyden/ KENDIKE

Bloggerin Eva Biringer ist ganz angetan vom „steten, smoothen Gleiten“ von Risto Kübar in der Rolle des „Val“. Und wer sich nicht mehr ganz sicher ist, worum es in der griechischen Mythenwelt bei Orpheus ging, findet hier Nachhilfe. Alle Zeichenkritiken zu den zum TT eingeladenen Inszenierungen hier.

Stetes, smoothes Gleiten. Über den Schauspieler Risto Kübar in „Orpheus steigt herab“

Titel, Autor, Entstehungsjahr: „Orpheus steigt herab“ von Tennessee Williams, 1957.
Handlung: In eine Vielzahl von Nebenhandlungen bricht der Landstreicher Val hinein. Alle Frauen himmeln ihn an, alle Männer hassen ihn.
Erster Satz: Ich war doch gestern beim Arzt wegen meinem Mann.
Regisseur: Sebastian Nübling, sechste Einladung zum TT.
Bühne: Münchner Kammerspiele.
Beim TT 2013: Große Bühne im Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

Szene aus „Orpheus steigt herab“ in der Regie von Sebastian Nübling, mit Cigdem Teke, Risto Kübar, Sylvana Krappatsch, Annette Paulmann (v.l.n.r.). Foto: Julian Röder © Julian Röder
Szene aus „Orpheus steigt herab“ in der Regie von Sebastian Nübling, mit Cigdem Teke, Risto Kübar, Sylvana Krappatsch, Annette Paulmann (v.l.n.r.). Foto: Julian Röder

Menschen wie Val Xavier führen Revolutionen an. Val ist ein Landstreicher, ein heimatloser Bohémian ohne das Bourgeoise daran. Wegen seiner silbern glänzenden Anzugsjacke (die aus David Bowies Kleiderschrank kommen muss!) hat er den Beinamen Schlangenhaut. Allein durch seine Anwesenheit bringt er das Südstaatenstädtchen, Schauplatz von Tennessee Williams „Orpheus steigt herab“, erst zum Brodeln und dann zum Überkochen. Williams latent wirre Narration versteht Val nicht nur als temporäre Erlöserfigur, sondern als Reinkarnation der griechischen Mythologiefigur Orpheus und möglicherweise sogar als irdischen Jesus. Folglich muss dieser Val eine ganze Menge schwacher Dramatik ausbügeln. Er muss der Katalysator sein für Übersprungshandlungen. Er muss sein wie Risto Kübar. Continue reading Stetes, smoothes Gleiten. Über den Schauspieler Risto Kübar in „Orpheus steigt herab“

"They suck these strangers dry: there is a vampire side of the system." An interview with Sebastian Nübling

Sebastian Nübling’s German-language production of American playwright Tennessee Williams’ 1957 Orpheus Descending for the Münchner Kammerspiele delves into the complexities of being an outsider, and was praised by the Theatertreffen jury for its “timeless value”. Tonight and tomorrow it is shown at Haus der Berliner Festspiele

Why did you decide to take on the job of staging this little-known work by Tennessee Williams?
It’s a clear story and not too psychological. It’s more like a parable, sort of an evil fairy tale, of a story really going wrong. It’s about how these kinds of situations can develop and not about one single very specific situation. The second reason for doing it was that (Estonian actor) Risto Kübar would play the male lead; that was the main click to say, okay, now it makes sense to produce the play because we have an actor in the centre of the play who is able to perform something between cultures, between languages and also on the gender level between the sexes – so you can understand a bit why this whole community where this stranger lands becomes so troubled on different levels.

How is the relationship of us vs. them portrayed?
It’s not all that simple: we have this kind of community where a stranger comes in and they get a lot of energy out of this guy, a lot of fantasy and projections on a sexual, emotional and violent level in the end. In a way you get the feeling that they need this kind of an other. On one hand to define what they are themselves, and on the negative side what they are not. And on the other hand they suck these strangers dry: there is a vampire side of the system.

Getting cocky with some baloons. Photo Credit: Julian Röder
Getting cocky with some balloons. Photo Credit: Julian Röder

The community plays a larger role in this work than in William’s more popular plays, like A Streetcar Named Desire or The Glass Menagerie…
There are stories from individuals you can connect to, but he also tries to build a bigger social network around the centre plot. He tries to communicate something about social circumstances and about the big questions: how do we live together and how do we want to live together and what stops us from living together the way we would like to?

Is the inspiration behind the staging still 1950s America?
I think Bavaria is not so far away from America to be honest: it has, you know, the cowboy hats. It’s sort of a mixture it’s not really like “this is in America” but more like prototype characters from movies and that I think it’s good for that stuff because it’s about prototype situation. It’s in German but you have this actor who doesn’t speak German in real life and so he learned the role on a phonetic basis. Continue reading "They suck these strangers dry: there is a vampire side of the system." An interview with Sebastian Nübling

Ready, set… Treff!

The fiftieth anniversary of the Theatertreffen begins in less than 48 hours! This means the passion, panic and pressure that come along with any golden jubilee will soon take over the Berliner Festspiele. But before we plunge headfirst into the first production, let’s take moment and look at what lies ahead.

All ten productions were chosen for being “extraordinary” or “remarkable”, but that doesn’t mean that they have much else in common. It’s exactly this lack of overall theme that makes the festival such a good survey of German language state-funded theater – especially for those of us who come from different traditions. It’s also accessible: five of this year’s productions have English surtitles and two more are fairly easy to understand.

Legendary director Michael Thalheimer’s production of Medea from Frankfurt opens the festival with a promising cast that includes actress Constanze Becker in the title role – a performance that earned her the Gertrud-Eysoldt-Ring prize for outstanding achievement in acting. It’s also worth mentioning that Becker and Thalheimer definitely fall into the category of repeat offenders: their Oresteia at the Deutsches Theater in 2006 was also honored with an invitation.

Novelist Hans Fallada’s Nazi resistance drama Every Man Dies Alone from 1946 has become a favorite for theatrical adaptations. Directed by Luk Perceval (ex-Schaubühne), this production comes from Theatertreffen regular Thalia Theater in Hamburg.

French choreographer Jerome Bel’s Disabled Theater might be this year’s most controversial selection. It’s a simple concept: the Swiss German ensemble Theater Hora – a company of actors with various mental handicaps – present themselves and some pretty inspiring dance solos. Bel’s assistant translates and explains in English where necessary. A symposium called “Disabled people on stage – artists or exhibits?” will follow the performances.

Rounding out the surtitled performances are a five-hour version of War and Peace co-produced by the Ruhrfestspiele and Centraltheater Leipzig and a production of Elfride Jelinek’s The City The Street The Raid from Munich, which marks the 10th time a work from the notorious Austrian author has been invited.

Of the non-surtitled selections, two aren’t very text oriented: British director Katie Mitchell’s cinematic Night Train is more about the visuals than the plot and Volksbühne director Herbert Fritsch’s Murmel Murmel has one word and one word only (hint: it’s also in the title).

German-language productions of Brecht’s Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe from Zurich, Gerhart Hauptmann’s Die Ratten and Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus steigt herab make up the rest of this year’s invitees. Check out the EXBERLINER website for my English-language interviews with a couple of the artists involved.

As far as tickets go: MedeaEvery Man Dies Alone, War and Peace and Night Train are already sold out and there’s just a couple of tickets left for Disabled Theater and Murmel Murmel, so reserve now! TIP: even if the show’s sold out it’s worth trying to get last minute tickets (Restkarten), especially for the second performance.

And of course, the ten invited productions are just the beginning…

This year also marks the 35th anniversary of the Stückemarkt festival for new plays (all translated from the original language into German), held this year for the first time in the stunningly retro Pan Am Lounge. The staged reading programme also includes discussions and talks, a retrospective over 35 years of history, and opportunities to nerd out over theater archives in the Hörspiele lounge.

A special bus tour takes you through the history of the festival, complete with film material and interview snippets – sadly lacking in surtitles. This year’s paparazzi event is TT50 – Das Fest, in which various denizens of the theater world will hog the mic with reminiscences and gossip, followed by a concert from the specially organised Theater Composers Orchestra then infamous Schaubühne actor Lars Eidinger’s DJ set Autistic Disco.

Last, but not least, don’t forget to follow the festival right here on the TT Blog with daily updates, reviews, recommendations and English posts from yours truly. You can also join in the dialogue on the blog and through our Twitter hashtag #TT50.

Now that we’ve got the lay of the land, I’m going to go buy a cake – and fifty candles.