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WESTERN EUROPEAN STAGES

Volume 24, Number 1 Spring 2012


Editor
Marvin Carlson
Contributing Editors



Christopher Balme
Miriam D'Aponte
Marion P. Holt
Glenn Loney
Daniele Vianello
Harry Carlson
Maria M. Delgado
Barry Daniels
Yvonne Shafer
Phyllis Zatlin
Editorial Staff
Alexandra (Sascha) J ust,
Managing Editor
Kalle Westerling, Editorial Assistant
Benjamin Gillespie, Circulation Manager
Staffan Valdemar Holm
Photo: Sebastian Hoppe
Martin E. Segal Theatre Center-Copyright 2012
ISSN #1050-1991
Professor Daniel Gerould (in memoriam), Director of Publications
Frank Hentschker, Executive Director
J an Stenzel, Director of Administration
To the Reader
In this issue we mark the passing of three long-time associates and supporters of this journal. Two tributes
are posted below, that of Rosette Lamont, a founding editor and frequent contributor, and J ean Decock, a long-time
reporter on the Off Festival in Avignon. We also note with deep sadness the loss of our colleague Daniel Gerould,
editor of our companion journal, Slavic and East European Performance. Before his death, Professor Gerould
began negotiations with another outstanding scholar of Eastern European theatre, Allan Kuharski of Swarthmore
College, to assume editorship of SEEP, but insuffcient funding and staff support prevented those plans from
moving forward.
The editors of WES, which has also experienced funding cutbacks in recent years, have opened discussions
with Professor Kuharski about combining the two journals, so that the important work of both can continue. Aside
from fnancial considerations, this would also acknowledge the fact that Europe, clearly divided into an East and a
West a quarter of a century ago when these two journals were founded, is now a very different and far more unifed
and interlocked continent, and a combined journal would much more clearly refect contemporary cultural reality.
We hope that within the next year we will have organized this new structure. We will, of course, keep our faithful
readers informed as the situation develops and hope that they will be as supportive of us in the future as they have
been in the past.
In the meantime, WES will continue its current orientation, and we welcome, as always, interviews
and reports on recent work of interest anywhere in Western Europe. Subscriptions and queries about possible
contributions should be addressed to the Editor, Western European Stages, Theatre Program, CUNY Graduate
Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, or mcarlson@gc.cuny.edu.
Western European Stages is supported by a generous grant from the Sidney E. Cohn Chair in Theatre Studies.
Martin E. Segal Theatre Center J ournals are available online from ProQuest Information and Learning as abstracts
via the ProQuest information service and the International Index to the Performing Arts. www.il.proquest.com.
All J ournals are indexed in the MLA International Bibliography and are members of the Council of Editors of
Learned J ournals.
Rosette C. Lamont 1927-2012
Rosette Lamont was one of the founding
editorial board members of Western European
Stages, and a frequent contributor on contemporary
productions in Paris during the frst twelve years
of the journal, when she contributed over twenty-
fve witty, insightful, and informed essays. She also
wrote regularly for the New York Times, Theater
Week, and The New York Theatre Wire. A leading
scholar on the post-war French theatre, she was the
author of two books on Eugene Ionesco, of whom
she was a personal friend. She received many awards
and decorations in both the United States and in
France. She was a brilliant speaker and a mentor to
two generations of students, frst at Hunter College
and the CUNY Graduate Center, and subsequently
at Sarah Lawrence College. Rosette Lamont leaves
behind a tremendous legacy as a teacher, a scholar,
and a critic.
Marvin Carlson
Jean Decock, 1928-2011
Who can ever forget J ean Decock, seated
in the front row of theatres in New York City, at the
Avignon Festival, in Paris, and anywhere else he
happened to be? With his white hair pulled back in a
ponytail, taking copious notes with his tiny pen and
clearly engrossed in what was happening on stage,
he was always a fgure of note. Even in his seventies
and early eighties, he would see at least two shows a
day, a concert, or a flm. And in Avignon, I marveled
at his ability to crisscross the town on foot, in the
broiling heat, as he sought out the latest OFF Festival
shows (at least four a day.)
Along with his love of theatre and flm,
J ean was known for "his kindness, his culture, his
charm, and his humanity," to quote Regis Philippi,
the owner of the hotel where J ean stayed during
every Avignon Festival. He will be greatly missed
by all who knew him and shared his enthusiasm for
the arts.
Philippa Wehle
3
Table of Contents
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103
Roy Kift
Brian Rinehart
Marvin Carlson
LeGrace Benson
David Willinger
Maria M. Delgado
J oan Templeton
Phyllis Zatlin
Steve Earnest
Charlott Neuhauser
Volume 24, Number 1
Going Europe...The Dsseldorf Schauspielhaus 2011-2012
One, Two, Three, and Already Over:
The Theatre of Uli J ckle
Report from Berlin
Report from London, J anuary, 2012
Guy and IvoTwo Directors, Two Cities, Two Intersecting Paths
Barcelona Theatre 2012: Mismatched Couples, Capitalism under the
Scalpel, and the Ghosts of the Past
Frank Castorf's La Dame aux Camlias at the Odon,
Paris, J anuary 7- February 4, 2012
Parisians Love to Laugh
Theatre in Iceland, Winter 2011
The BibleNow a Play in Three Acts
The Index to Western European Stages, Volume 23
Contributors
SPRING 2012
4
WilliamShakespeare's Hamlet, directed by Staffan Valdemar Holm. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
5
The Dsseldorf Schauspielhaus (Ds-
seldorf Playhouse) has three main stages: the main
auditorium and the studio (both at Gustaf-Grnd-
gens-Platz in the city center), and the Young People's
Theatre a few kilometers away in a converted fac-
tory building in the suburb of Rath. It has a total staff
of over 300, and an ensemble of forty-four actors.
At the moment it enjoys an annual grant of around
21,000,000 to cover a total budget of 25,000,000.
The origins of the Dsseldorf Schauspiel-
haus go back to 1747 when a foundry in the city
was converted into a theatre building in honor of
the local Prince, Karl Theodor. From 1794 to 1815
Dsseldorf was in Napoleon's hands, but when it
reverted to Prussia's King Friedrich Wilhelm II., the
theatre was handed over to the city in 1818, and ac-
cordingly named the Dsseldorf Stadttheater, or Mu-
nicipal Theatre. Its initial director was J osef Derossi,
an actor from Austria. But it was only after 1834,
when the direction of the theatre was taken over by
a lawyer and writer named Karl Leberecht Immer-
mann that the theatre began to gain a reputation for
itself. In 1873 work began on a new theatre building
near the city's central park, the "Hofgarten," and the
new building was opened two years later. From now
on, however, the Stadttheater was mainly dedicated
to opera productions.
The Dsseldorf Schauspielhaus was
founded as a private theatre on 16 J une 1904 by
the actress Louise Dumont and the director Gustav
Lindemannthe two later marriedand less than a
year later they inaugurated a new theatre building
(audience capacity: 950) with a production of Heb-
bel's biblical tragedy Judith, written in 1840. At the
time the city of Dsseldorf was expanding fast and
already boasted a nationally renowned Academy
of Arts. In the nineteenth century its music life had
been enriched by the presence of Robert Schumann
and Felix Mendelssohn, who also conducted the city
orchestra. Dumont and Lindemann had ambitious
aims to give the city a similarly high theatrical repu-
tation by presenting avant-garde productions at the
cutting edge of modern theatre, and it was not long
before the theatre began to earn a name for itself
well beyond the immediate city boundaries. Con-
temporary dramatists were engaged as dramaturgs,
a fortnightly magazine Masken was launched, and
Sunday matinees were staged, one of which featur-
ing a reading by Herman Hesse in 1909. Not content
with this, Louise Dumont set up an acting school
attached to the theatre. In the 1920s, however, the
theatre fell into fnancial diffculties, partly because
of its challenging program and the more popular
repertoire presented by the Stadttheater, and partly
because of the general economic situation. After
a break in productions between 1922 and 1924 its
existence was fnally secured with the help of a
"society of friends." Financial problems once again
came to the fore at the start of the 1930s, and Lin-
demann was forced to fnd a partner in the region.
But the collaboration with the Cologne Municipal
Theatre only lasted for one season (1932-33). In
1932, Louise Dumont died at the age of seventy,
and one year later, Gustav Lindemann, who was
Jewish, was forced out of offce by the Nazis. The
Schauspielhaus was integrated into the Dsseldorf
Municipal Theatre, and Lindemann withdrew from
theatre life completely. Fourteen years later, during
the Second World War, the municipal theatre was
almost completely destroyed by allied bombs and
had to be completely rebuilt after the war. In 1947,
the direction of the municipal theatre was taken over
by Gustaf Grndgens, who had himself been born
in the city and was one of Dumont's former acting
students. On 10 April 1951, theatre productions were
separated from opera and transferred to an existing
theatre building in J ahnstrasse. From now on this
was to be known as the Dsseldorf Schauspielhaus.
During his eight years as artistic director (Intendant)
Grndgens took the reputation of the theatre to fur-
ther heights. His own production of Goethe's "Faust"
(in which he also played the main role) has gone
down in history as one of the legendary productions
in the German theatre and it was even recorded on
gramophone records.
After Grndgens departure for Hamburg in
1955 his successor Karl-Heinz Stroux continued his
work in a similar tradition with a company which
for a time included such great names as Elisabeth
Bergner, Fritz Kortner, Maria Wimmer, and Paula
Wesely. In 1964, Stroux's production of Ionesco's
The King Dies! was invited to the Berlin Theatertref-
fen as one of the most outstanding productions of the
year. By now the theatre in J ahnstrasse was proving
inadequate for the job, and plans were made for an
entirely new building. The current Schauspielhaus
on Gustaf-Grndgens-Platz opened on 16 J anuary
1970 with a production of Georg Bchner's Danton's
Going EuropeThe Dsseldorf Schauspielhaus 2011-2012
Roy Kift
6
Death to an invited audience only. Mass protests at
the exclusive nature of the event ended in police in-
tervention, twenty arrests, and several people being
taken to the hospital. Stroux was followed as Intend-
ant by Ulrich Brecht (1972), Gnther Beelitz (1976),
and Volker Canaris (1986). With the arrival of Anna
Badora in 1996 the reputation of the Schauspielhaus
began to decline. Ten years later she was succeeded
by Amlie Niermeyer, who in turn left to take over
the theatre department of the Mozarteum University
in Salzburg in summer 2011. Niemeyer's reign had
been nondescript, to say the least, and the city fa-
thers were desperate to restore the reputation of the
Grndgens era. By now however, Dsseldorf was no
longer considered a leading address for top German
directors. Thus, it was that they turned their attention
abroad for possible candidates.
Their solution was Staffan Valdemar Holm,
the former artistic director of the Royal Dramatic
Theatre in Stockholm. At the frst press conference
to announce his frst season, Holm declared that it
was his aim to orientate the theatre more towards
Europe. With his new team of directors, dramaturgs,
and actors he aimed to promote both tradition and
experiment. His young directors were to be respon-
sible for the experiments and "I shall do the boring
stuff" he joked. The new era was to open in October
with a new production of Hamlet by Holm himself.
To underline his international ambitions
and introduce new authors and directors who were
to work under his aegis, the season opened with a
program of guest performances from Tokyo, Berlin,
Santiago de Chile, Weimar, Antwerp and Brussels.
One of Dsseldorf's new team of directors was
Nurkan Erpulat, who had been responsible for the
immensely successful Crazy Blood [WES, 23.3,
Fall 2011]. His entertaining review Clash featured a
group of young amateur actors from Berlin who had
devised their own scenes in which they questioned
the relevance of traditional German values in an in-
tercultural society shaped by religious diversity. An-
other new young director Nora Schlcker presented
her Weimar production of Sartre's Dirty Hands.
There was a crazy trio of pieces by Toshiki Okada
from J apan; a very wordy two part evening called
Villa/Discurso on the traumatic fate of Pinochet's
torture victims in Chile, written and directed by
Guillermo Caldern; and a truly magnifcent piece
of theatre from Holland called Sunken Red.
Based on an autobiographical novel by
J eroen Brouwers's Sunken Red play tells of the close
relationship between a young boy and his mother,
more particularly of the traumatic years they spent
together in a women's concentration camp during the
Second World War in J apan. When the play opens
we see an old man picking obsessively at his toe
nails alone in a room: shades of Beckett's Krapp.
Indeed, there is a grotesque thread running through
Dsseldorfer Schauspielhaus. Photo: Courtesy of Roy Kift.
7
the play which continually threatens to turn tragedy
into farce. The solo character, whose name we never
learn, recounts in painful detail the horrifc experi-
ences he endured in J apanese captivity with his
mother, his aunt, and grandmother. The long agony
of hunger and torture appeared to have come to an
end when the J apanese capitulated to the oncoming
allies and wagons full of fresh food arrived in the
camp: only to be brutally destroyed by the J apanese
before the eyes of the starving prisoners. Back home,
the shattered mother fnds it impossible to care for
her son and has him sent away to a school. These
agonizing experiences affect his whole life and the
resulting irrational resentment against his mother
makes it impossible for him to have any satisfactory
relationship with other women. Trapped within his
lonely psychological and physical cell he relives all
the hatred he has suffered and feels. But what begins
as a settlement of a debt with his mother ends ca-
thartically with an urgent declaration of love. Sunken
Red proved to be one of the most amazing theatre ex-
periences I have had. Indeed, it was so powerful that
I returned the next day to gaze again in awe at the
masterly performancein English!of the Dutch
actor Dirk Roothooft as the tormented victim. At a
discussion after the frst night Roothooft revealed
that he has been performing the play for years, also
in French and Spanish, but never in England and
only once in New York where it received mixed re-
views. Perhaps it has developed since then: but then
again perhaps European audiences have a different
cultural receptive framework for such subject mat-
ter. If you think the theatrical world is dominated by
English and American actors, grab a chance to catch
this show and you'll experience one of the best act-
ing performances in recent history.
Holm originally intended to open his Ds-
seldorf era with his own production of Shakespeare's
Hamlet. However, he had scarcely begun rehearsals
on the play than he was hit by a bombshell: renova-
tions to the main house, which had been going on
for almost a year, would not be completed on time.
Hence the October opening would have to be post-
poned until the start of November. Thus shows in the
Young People's Theatre and the Studio would have
to kick off the season. Whether deliberately or by
coincidence, both the opening shows were adapta-
tions of novels. The Danish writer J anne Teller's
book, Nothingis Important, has been described
as the twenty-frst century equivalent of Lord of the
Flies. It tells of a school class in a country town in
Denmark and its reaction to a fellow student, Pierre,
who stands up one day and announces that "Noth-
ing is important anymore," before walking out of the
J eroen Brouwers's Sunken Red, directed by Guy Cassiers, Toneelhuis Antwerpen. Photo: Courtesy Dsseldorfer Schauspielhaus.
8
school and climbing a tree in his garden from where
he proceeds to bombard his contemporaries with
provocative statementsand plums. Almost imme-
diately it is clear that the book is both realistic and
a parable. The class mates decide to try to prove to
Pierre that life does indeed have a meaning, and that
this consists of things we value and love. The prob-
lem is how to demonstrate this palpably. The group's
nave response consists of each of them having to
sacrifce an object which is important to them and
building all the objects into a sort of "installation"
embodying the concept of meaningfulness. After an
initial attempt to bring along their "valuable" objects
to a deserted old hut in the country, they realize that
they have to be much more stringent in their sac-
rifces. What starts harmlessly with favorite comics
soon becomes a hazardous venture whereby certain
members of the class demand specifc sacrifces
from others, for example a brand new bicycle or
a pet hamster. The distress of having to submit to
group pressures leads in turn to "revenge" demands
which become increasingly drastic. Eventually there
comes a point of no return when one of the class
breaks into the local cemetery, opens up the grave of
his baby brother, and steals the coffn. Another mem-
ber steals a crucifx from an old church, someone's
dog is decapitated, a girl has to sacrifce her virginity
(how is not specifed but a blood-stained cloth serves
as evidence), and fnally one of the ring-leaders has
to submit to having the top of his index fnger cut off
because this is one he most needs in order to play
his guitar.
Inevitably this fnal act of bloody mutila-
tion leads to their being discovered, the police move
in, and cordon off the "installation" and the class is
duly reprimanded. But by now the local press had
got hold of the story and, when a television report
goes global, art experts from around the world de-
scend on the hut. This culminates in the installation
being greeted as a major work of art and the class
agrees to sell it for a seven fgure sum to the Museum
of Modern Art in New York. But when the group
confronts Pierre with their success he can only scoff
in contempt at their having sold their meaningful
installation so easily. Indeed, their action has only
proved his point: nothing is important. The class is
so enraged by his reaction that they fall on him and
kill him. By any measure of realism the book falls
apart once the police intervene, because the instal-
lation would certainly have been screened off and/
J anne Teller's Nothing, directed by Marco torman. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
9
or dismantled almost immediately to be used as evi-
dence. But it is the parable behind the book which
holds it together, because it embodies a burning
question for young people today: how to give their
lives a meaning.
Unfortunately neither the offcially ap-
proved adaptation of the book, nor the production
itself managed to live up to the original. The adapta-
tion was stymied from the start by a compulsion to
follow the events and dialogue in the novel almost
to the letter, with no attempt to rethink it in possi-
ble theatrical terms. The production aggravated this
further by not only discarding the potential horror in
the book but setting the play within the framework
of an entertaining disco run by Pierre. Thus, far from
being a shadowy distant provocateur, Pierre became
a mocking happy-go-luck DJ. The fnal, fatal er-
ror in the show was to invite the audience to leave
their seats at the end to examine more closely the
unveiled installation, here a banal piece of artwork
which inevitably failed to live up to anything we
might have imagined in our heads. If the idea was
to involve the audience more directly in the murder
of Pierre, it only succeeded in turning pathos into
bathos. Because of the book's controversial popular-
ity in Germany, the adaptationlike Erpulat/Hilje's
Crazy Bloodhas been taken into the repertoire of
many other theatres throughout the country.
Happily the premiere of Nothing was fol-
lowed shortly after by an impressive production of
Franz Grillparzer's Medea written in 1819 as the
third part of a trilogy entitled the Golden Fleece.
Under the skilful direction of Sarantos Zervoulakos,
the evening turned out to be one of the highlights of
the season. Despite the fact that the production was
aimed at young audiences there was no attempt to
impose any directorial tricks: no pop music, disco
effects, or modern text interpolations, nothing but
the text and the story. In the hands of Zervoulakos,
the potentially thorny mythical material proved to be
a truly original imaginative and gripping theatrical
experience. At the start the audience is confronted
by an empty stage, apart from a large rectangular pit
surrounded by a low wooden frame. Four actors ar-
rive and hoist a huge sail made of thick plastic strips
which they then move slowly back and forth to cre-
ate the sound of wind and the rushing sea. A hose
pipe leading to the pit in front of the sail releases
fog into the air, and for a few minutes with the lights
going on and off at regular intervals to indicate the
passing of the days, we are sunk in the atmosphere
of wind and cloud and the long journey of J ason and
the Argonauts to the Greek city of Corinth.
Here, after years of exile J ason (Aleksandar
Tesla) and his wife Medea are taken in by King
Creon (Dirk Osig) and the framed pit becomes not
only a metaphor for the self-enclosed royal court
but also a play area for children. Creon looks kindly
on J ason, but prejudiced by tales of Medea's magic
powers and her "barbarian" background he refuses
to accept her into his court as an equal, despite her
initial efforts to integrate. Tensions are aggravated
when J ason meets up once again with his childhood
sweetheart, Creon's daughter Creusa, who shows a
particular interest in his two children. Medea's in-
securities are aroused and she reacts with a display
of hostility, which in turn only shuts her off even
more from social contact. Thus the play becomes the
story of an outsider in a foreign country, a criminal
from the other end of the world, utterly unable to
adapt to the norms of a "civilized" society. Whereas
Creusa is slim, young, and beautiful, this Medea is
a stocky, red-haired woman packed in a parka, as
if to protect her not only from the wintery climate
but the coldness of the social surroundings. Stefanie
Reinsperger gives an imposing and utterly convinc-
ing performance as Medea. She is simultaneously
powerful and fragile, proud and full of self-doubt,
sensitive and hard, driven by elementary emotions
and tortured by her observations. When her children
are taken from her she throws herself on the ground,
out of her mind with fury and grief. Inconsolable.
In the Dsseldorf production the inevitable step to-
wards killing her own two children is then realized
in a highly concentrated and unexpected manner.
Instead of the expected bloodbath she simply take
one baby in a basket under her arm and the other,
a young boy dressed in a sailor's cap, by the hand
and leads them quietly from the stage under the
light of a harsh sun. When the spotlights go out, it
is clear that she has killed them and the world has
been turned into eternal darkness. Rarely have I seen
such an uncompromisingly concentrated production
on a young people's stage. This was not simply out-
standing theatre for young people, it was outstanding
theatre which might have found a more ftting home
in the adult studio theatre.
Instead, the studio theatre opened with
The Map and the Territory, the latest novel by the
controversial French writer, Michel Houellebecq in
an adaptation by the German dramatist and drama-
turg Falk Richter, who also directs the show. The
play is a cynical satire on the art world: all surface
image, modern, and modish. The stage is full of
cameras, photographs, sketches, and drawings,
videos, refecting the contrast between content and
10
Franz Grillparzer's Medea, directed by Sarantos Zervoulakos. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
11
presentation. The protagonist, J ed Martin, is a star
artist whose works sell for millions, and who broke
through to fame and fortune with an obscure series
of photographs of Michelin road maps which osten-
sibly demonstrate that the map is more important
than the territory itself. Unsure as to whether he is
a genuine talent or simply a hyped-up media charla-
tan, J ed moves overnight from an object of obscurity
to become the darling of the art world who can do no
wrong. He immediately cashes in on his new-found
fame with a series of photographs of media giants
like Bill Gates and Steve J obs, and rich artists like
J eff Coons and Damien Hirst (sic!) whom he cannot
seem to capture to his satisfaction.
The absurdity of the art world is shown
here as a farce. Everything is self-conscious perfor-
mance and self-presentation. None of the characters
seem able to communicate with each other, whether
they be J ed's lover Olga (complete with exaggerated
Russian accent), his press agent Marylin stretch-
ing herself out on a sofa in a lascivious fashion, or
his vain gallery owner Franz. They either speak of
themselves in the third person or directly to the audi-
ence via a microphone. Almost inevitably the most
interesting fgure in the show is not the millionaire
painter and photographer J ed, who has retired into
self-imposed exile into a country estate and now
devotes his time to pictograms and videos to give
expression to his contempt for the art world and the
world in general which he sees as falling apart. In
a piece of self-mirroring absurdity, J ed (a thinly-
disguised authorial alter ego) asks none other than
the reluctant Houellebecq to write the forword to the
catalogue for his latest exhibition, and from now on
it is Houellebecq himself who takes over the show: a
smoking, boozing, self-indulgent cynic who knows
only too well that he can behave how he likes, both
artistically and socially because "I'm all the rage."
The shock comes at the end of the even-
ing when Houellebecq himself is mysteriously and
senselessly murdered, and by the end of the play the
world is reduced to slapstick with caricature detec-
tives directly out of The Pink Panther walking into
walls and falling over chairs. If this all sounds a lit-
tle like comedy science-fction, it is: what starts in
2012 ends in 2048. If nothing else, the production
showed that nihilism can be fun. And that itself was
an achievement.
At the start of November renovations to
the playhouse were fnally completed and the thea-
tre world waited expectantly for Staffan Valdemar
Holm's dbut production: Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The curtain rises on an utterly empty golden cage
(design and costumes, Bente Lykke Mller) to the
sound of soft rock music from the Danish band "Sort
Sol." At the furthest corner of the stage stands the
tiny thin fgure of Ophelia, a teenager in a plain
black dress and high heels, lost in a (disco?) dream.
Facing her across the vast expanse of emptiness is
another teenager in a formal black suit and tie (as are
all the male characters in this production), Hamlet.
They hold their hands out towards each other, fnger-
ing the air but keeping their distance as they circle
slowly round the periphery of the cage to the sound
of the music, desiring to come nearer to one another
but simultaneously afraid of doing so. Eventually
Hamlet breaks out of the formal dance, and when
they move into the center of the stage the dream is
broken by the entrance of an older man standing
behind Hamlet so closely that he can breathe down
his neck: "I am thy father's spirit, doomed for a cer-
tain time to walk the night Revenge this foul and
most unnatural murder." Thus in the space of the
frst ten minutes, Holm establishes the parameters
of his production. This is a love story between two
nave teenagers that is destroyed by the murder of
Hamlet's father and a categorical order to wreak a
murderous revenge. All illusory innocent dreams
are now destined to become nightmarish realities of
guilt and self-accusation. This Hamlet is no tragic
hero but a boy forced to become a man before his
time, whose sharp awareness of his own inadequacy
leads him from one disaster to the next as he tries
to avoid the inevitable. Stripped of the Fortinbras/
political element the play thus becomes a highly
personal drama of two families: Hamlet's family,
broken and ruined by the murder of his father and
the remarriage of his widow Gertrude (a masterful
performance by Imogen Kogge caught between her
role as queen and mother), to his uncle Claudius the
usurping King.
Over against this Holm gives us another
family: that of Polonius, a man split between his du-
ties as a courtier and his responsibilities as a caring
father. Sven Walser's Polonius, is no doddering fool
but a worried realist concerned about the future of
his son, Laertes, once he returns to his student life
in Paris. Laertes, in turn, seems to know only too
well the lures of the fesh and, before he leaves, tries
to warn his sister Ophelia against falling too much
for Hamlet. His concerns are reinforced by his father
who is highly agitated that the Prince might misuse
his daughter for his adolescent lust and then discard
her at will. But the damage to Hamlet's relationship
has already been done. Compelled by the order from
his ghostly father he is no longer able to pursue the
12
relationship for which he strives so ardently, and
his seemingly harsh rejection of Ophelia takes on a
tragic logic. The world is out of joint and everything
has become a play of "seeming" and "being." "This
can't be real" we seem to hear him say. In Holm's
production it is and it isn't. He drives this home even
more powerfully by having an elderly actor and
actress play Guildenstern and Rosencrantz respec-
tively. However in this production they are not only
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but also the players,
clowns, sailors, and gravediggers. In the central
scene wherein Hamlet hopes to catch the "con-
science of the King," the two play out the murder
of Hamlet's father. As Hamlet's father (a woman as
the father!) dies, she suddenly breaks out of the play
and announces she can no longer act and speaks an
excerpt from Ingmar Bergmann's Fanny and Alex-
ander, in which an aging actress tells the ghost of
her son that being an actress has ruined reality for
her, and that she has given up trying to repair the
world. At the same time she questions the reality of
Gertrude and her husband, and throws the play onto
a meta-level where Hamlet, according to Holm in
the program "might be a prince another guy might
be a dead kinga fair lady might be a queen. Or is it
Imogen Kogge?" etc.).
From now on, the stage world is thoroughly
out of joint and the phantasmagoria on stage are un-
able to prevent the external reality of a privileged
society in a golden cage from collapsing like a house
of cards. Driven insane by Hamlet's rejection, the
innocent Ophelia haunts the court, dancing and sing-
ing to the pop music she hears in her head whilst
offering herself as a topless whore to whomever she
approaches, including even her father whose fears
have now turned into nightmare reality. Claudius's
guilty conscience, pierced by the players' play
within the play, comes to the surface and, in Rainer
Bock's magnifcent interpretation, the usurping king
descends from being a banal, technocratic decision-
maker to a babbling alcoholic wreck in shirt-sleeves
and open-neck vainly attempting to repent a crime
to a God whom he despises. This is the great scene
where Hamlet is fnally given the ideal opportunity
to fulfl his father's command and take revenge: only
to talk himself out of it on the grounds that he can-
not murder a man at prayer. In Holm's production
it seems at one point as if Hamlet might just ham-
mer his uncle to death with his bottle of schnapps.
Instead, he pours the remaining alcohol over the
unwitting drunk and runs from the scene.
Powerful as the staging might be at this
WilliamShakespeare's Hamlet, directed by Staffan Valdemar Holm. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
13
point it is surpassed in the graveyard scene where
not only Ophelia but the golden world itself is turned
to dust. As Laertes and Hamlet tussle for the ashes
of Ophelia, the urn is broken open, and the stage/
world covered in a cloud of ashes which reduces the
two young men into helpless grey ghosts, horrifed
and acutely embarrassed at the consequences of their
dispute. Lea Drger's fragile, nave Ophelia makes
a wonderful contrast to Aleksander Radenkovic's
volatile young intellectual Hamlet, played with stun-
ning clarity and schizophrenic wit. The magnifcent
cast is completed by the two clown-players eerily
and at times grotesquely performed by Marianne
Hoika and Winfried Kppers: and Taher Sahintrk
in the role of Laertes who, in the course of the play,
matures from a cool modern student to a courageous
and movingly mature man of dignity as he learns of
the death of frst his father and then of his beloved
sister. The play opens with the words "Who's there?"
and after three and quarter hours of compelling thea-
tre, in the fnal tableau Horatio (a weird interpreta-
tion of a character who didn't seem to ft in the play
at all) takes leave of all the characters lying dead on
stage with the words "the rest is silence."
The premiere of Holm's production re-
ceived mixed reviews, since many critics saw it as
conventionally old-fashioned. The highly respected
and generally conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung even perversely dismissed it out of hand as
being a piece of hack work. Another critic remarked
that this would be the production to send your chil-
dren to, as they would be able to follow the story.
Since most of today's young people, not only in Ger-
many but around the world, are highly unlikely to
have become acquainted with the story during their
time in school or even university, one might reason-
ably think this remark might be a compliment. In
Germany where Shakespeare can be cut up and put
together to ft any postmodern deconstruction theo-
ryand let's face it, the non-English theatre world
have a hugely liberating advantage here in that they
have access to continually new translations because
the outdated language of Shakespeare's English and
its status as an almost sacred text undoubtedly ham-
pers any attempt to "contemporize" the Bardthe
comment was probably intended to be neutral at the
most and more likely, negative. And herein, perhaps,
lies the real problem for German critics: too many
drastic modern reinterpretations of Shakespeare
seem to have made them insensitive and unrecep-
tive to the virtues of text over performance. For me,
Holm's modernyes, modernconcept was not
only clear in its intentions, but utterly coherent and
sensitive to the original text. The few changes and
insertions he made only served to heighten his vi-
sion of the play and to shed a fresh light on a very
old masterpiece. One fnal comment, this must be the
only play production I have witnessed which pro-
ceeded from start to fnish without a single piece of
furnitureno curtains, no beds, no thrones, no bat-
tlements, no makeshift stage for the playersevery
reality is left to our imagination from start to end.
Peter Brooke's "empty space" indeed!
In her novel The Lacuna, the American
writer Barbara Kingsolver quotes a tale about Stalin
as related by his rival Trotsky. When asked what
he liked best in life, Stalin replied "To choose your
victim, to prepare everything, to revenge yourself
pitilessly. And then to go to sleep." It would be very
diffcult to fnd a better motto for the eponymous
protagonist in Richard III, Holm's second Shake-
speare production of the season. Once again the
virtues of the "empty space" were invoked in the
design by Lykke Mller. This time the empty box
was black as a blackboard and scribbled in chalk
with the names and family trees of all the charac-
ters in the play, an immense help for anyone like me
who has diffculty retaining the precise relationship
of Shakespeare's casts. Around the edge of the stage
were plain wooden chairs where the actors in mod-
ern dress sat throughout the performance when they
were not involved. And when a character was mur-
dered one of the actors struck out the name on the
wall with a piece of chalk. The play has no less than
thirty-six characters and Holm elected to produce it
with a cast of ten, all of whom except Richard and
the four women characters doubled. At the start of
the evening the actors take their seats and begin to
mutter segments of text against a musical rhythm.
Still seated they transform into a pack of dangerous
dogs howling at Richard's ankles as he springs to his
feet to order them to bring them to silence and be-
gin one of the most famous opening monologues in
the Shakespearian canon: "Now is the winter of our
discontent made glorious summer." The massive
fgure of Richard in a worn out tee-shirt and shabby
trousers is anything but regal in his aura. This lout
clearly relishes his role as the ugly outsider and from
time to time emphasizes his alien nature by hunching
a shoulder or putting on a limp la Laurence Olivier.
The fact that he only does this occasionally empha-
sizes the fact that he knows only too well that he is
playing a role in a power struggle where anything
goes in his ambition to grab and keep the throne.
Here Rainer Galke runs the gamut of possibilities,
exploiting to the full the "actorly" features of the
14
character who has a sort of beastly sensual attraction.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the rest of
the cast who were not only extraordinarily colorless
but utterly undifferentiated in the various roles they
were asked to adopt. Taner Sahintrk is a potentially
exceptional actor. His Laertes in Hamlet was highly
convincing and as Clarence, Richard's brother and
frst victim in the Tower he again puts in a persuasive
performance. But when it came to portraying seven
other characters in the play they all seemed to be the
same, a feature which was not helped by the fact that
Sahintrk and the rest of the cast retained exactly the
same clothes for all their characters.
By contrast the women in the play seemed
to have been caught up in a bout of collective hyste-
ria. Karin Pfammater's Queen Margaret in particular
did nothing but scream endlessly at the top of her
voice, which made me more concerned about the
state of her vocal chords than of the character herself.
Indeed, screaming at the top of the voice seemed to
be the principal means of expression throughout the
play, with the overdone histrionics of Claudia Hb-
becker as Queen Elisabeth, who gave the impression
less of being a queen than an immature twenty-
fve-year old ex-private school student. The overall
impression of the production was not helped by the
series of murders, the vast majority of which were
lengthyand I mean minute-longthrottlings. In
the face of an onslaught of screaming, drawn-out
deaths and an utter lack of characterization, the ac-
tors were completely unable to spark the fint of the
"empty space" to fre the audience's imagination.
The upshot was that an initially irritating evening
slowly descended into tiresome monotony and end-
less repetition. Thanks to the continual crossing-out
of the names, the one clear fact put across by the
production was the huge amount of persons who had
fallen victim to Richard's brutal tyranny. Perhaps this
was one of the points the production was trying to
make: that in a world of naked power politics murder
is nothing more than a cold bureaucratic procedure.
Tick them off and they're dead and forgotten. This
might also explain why they were all so faceless and
interchangeable. Whatever the case, it was diffcult
for me to discern why Holm had chosen to present
this particular play at this particular time to this par-
ticular audience, a view confrmed by almost all the
critics who reviewed the show.
By contrast with the lukewarm reception
for Richard III, Nurkan Erpulat's reinterpretation
(one might also say re-writing) of a modern German
comedy Herr Kolpert was greeted with considerable
critical enthusiasm. The play by the German author
David Gieselmann was originally premiered in an
WilliamShakespeare's Richard III, directed by Staffan Valdemar Holm. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
15
English translation at the Royal Court Theatre in
London in 2000 and has since made its way around
the stages of the world from Australia to the United
States via many Eastern bloc countries. The black
comedy la Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf tells of a
bored young couple, Ralf and Sarah, who decide to
have a joke at the expense of their guests, a stiff non-
drinking architect named Bastian and his wife Edith,
by telling them that they have strangled a colleague
of Sarah and Edith named Mr. Kolpert, and locked
him in a trunk in the lounge. Taking as his starting
point a reference to a seemingly unmotivated pos-
session of a gun in Alfred Hitchcock's flm Rope,
the author builds his tension on the question as to
whether there might indeed be a corpse in the trunk,
especially since knocking noises seem to be com-
ing from beneath the lid. Edith makes the situation
more confused by conniving in the hosts' story and
confessing that she once had a brief sexual encounter
with Herr Kolpert in the lift at work. Bastian is ap-
palled at the news and even more at the incredible
bad taste of the whole story, and cannot decide to
believe it or not. Since Sarah and Ralf have forgotten
to buy any food for the evening meal they order four
take-away dishes from the local pizza restaurant. The
drinking has already begun and when Ralf tries to
phone through individual orders and extra requests
this produces a chaotic series of misunderstandings
which inevitably result in the delivery man arriving
with the wrong order.
In the meantime, the chaos has reached
such a level that Bastian takes it into his hands to tie
up Ralf and open up the trunk for himself. It tran-
spires that the trunk is empty. But later in the play,
after playing a chaotic identity game called Celeb-
rity Guess, the body of Herr Kolpert falls out of a
cupboard. By this time, Ralf, Sarah, and Edith are
hopelessly drunk and the pizza man arrives back on
the scene with the correct order only to fnd himself
in the middle of a crime scene. Edith and Sarah bun-
dle the body of Herr Kolpert into the trunk and pile
the protesting Bastian on top of him before slam-
ming tight the lid. The pizza man attempts to leave
the apartment but is foiled by Edith who butchers
him to death with a knife as an act of liberation to put
herself on the same level as the other two murder-
ers. The three of them pile the pizza man on top of
Bastian who, in attempting to escape from the trunk,
is then knifed to death by Ralf and Sarah. As a fnal
act of emancipation Ralf, Sarah, and Edith all strip
naked and stand there weeping.
Whatever you make of the text of this farce,
it does at least have its own internal slapstick logic.
An English director would probably say that to make
David Gieselmann's Herr Kolpert, directed by Nurkan Erpulat. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
16
the play really funny it has to be played extremely
seriously. In Germany, the culture seems to be en-
tirely different and the school of thought goes that
to make a play even more funny than it is, you have
to exaggerate it to the limit. This is the approach
taken by Erpulat. He not only ignores the level of
menace inherent in the references to Rope but pref-
aces the play with his own invention, whereby Sarah
and Ralf are two well-heeled Dsseldorfers looking
out onto the outline of the city and congratulating
themselves on their own success. As soon as the
play starts all four characters start mugging it up,
and when the pizza man arrives Erpulat decides to
make this even more absurd by adding an interlude
during which he sings and dances to a crazy rock
song before delivering the food. The play contains
many slapstick scenes which need precise timing in
order to work. Unfortunately, on the night I attended
the show, there was neither timing nor technique,
simply a series of effortful mistimed messy gags.
With no interest in the characters, the
play rapidly deteriorated into a tedious
disaster. For some reason known only
to himself, Erpulat ducked the nude
ending in the script and substituted it
by having the three drunken survivors
clean up the apartment before show-
ing the skyline of Dsseldorf gradu-
ally collapsing into rubble as if a 9/11
disaster had hit the whole city. Perhaps
this was the meta-message: life and
the world is a senseless disaster. Fair
enough, but unfortunately in this case
the production was too. And this from
the young director who had given us
the theatrical hit of the previous sea-
son with his precisely realistic and ut-
terly compelling production of Crazy
Blood.
Two days after the premiere
of Hamlet, the main stage played host
to the premiere of Gerhart Haupt-
mann's Einsame Menschen ("Lonely
People") written in 1891 and said to be
his favorite play. Hauptmann himself
once wrote: "There is nothing so grue-
some as the alienation of those who
know each other" and this seems to be
the theme behind his drama. It tells of
the intrusion of an outsider, a student
by the name of Anna Mahr, into the
enclosed life of a middle-class family
in Berlin in the late nineteenth century.
She arrives unheralded to fnd herself caught up in
the midst of a family party to celebrate the baptism
of the son of J ohannes and Kthe Vockerat. The fam-
ily welcomes her with open arms and invites her to
stay for as long as she likes. Her original plan was
to make contact with one of the guests, an artist by
the name of Braun, but soon she and Johannes fnd
themselves mutually attracted to one another. In
Hauptmann's text this seems to be for intellectual
reasons. But in Nora Schlcker's production they
seem to be more interested in splashing about in the
lake bordering the family estate than discussing phi-
losophy. Correspondingly, the productionlike so
many others in Germanyis set unoriginally amidst
a huge mass of water in which people are continually
paddling and even swimming. At one point the two
maids even pile up chairs and tables in the middle
of the water which gives the whole production a
surreal favor. Days turns into weeks and tensions
in the family grow. J ohannes' wife can only gaze on
David Gieselmann's Herr Kolpert, directed by Nurkan Erpulat. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
17
helplessly at the newly-found meeting of minds, his
parents can only pass disapproving comments, and
J ohannes cannot bring himself to decide whether
to stay within the family boundaries or break out to
freedom. In the end Anna departs once again to her
life as a "single," J ohannes's wife breaks down and
J ohannes wades off to drown himself in the lake.
Ironically, enough the outsider-family
constellation in the play has some similarities with
the Medea I describe above. But, unlike Medea,
despite some good performances, especially from
Tina Engel and Hans Diel as J ohannes's parents, the
production and the fate of the characters never re-
ally grip. In an interview about her production, Nora
Schlcker says that the play interested her because it
questioned traditional middle-class ideas of the fam-
ily and that here the characters are perpetrators and
victims alike. Their desires to realize their deepest
potentials and live a life of personal freedom stand
in direct contrast to the cage of a conventional fam-
ily life. A good theme, which is perhaps even more
relevant today than it was in the nineteenth century.
The question is why this play and not, say, an equally
good play on the same theme by Alan Ayckbourn or
another modern author.
Productions on the main theatre stage con-
tinued with a hermetic chamber play by the Norwe-
gian author Arne Lygre entitled Days Beneath, writ-
ten in 2006 and frst performed in Norway in 2009.
Ostensibly, it tells the story of a man who collects
(kidnaps?) people from the street and shuts them up
in his underground bunker. The play, however, has
nothing to do with the gruesome news stories of kid-
nap and incestuous rape that have been coming out
of Austria and Belgium in recent years. Despite the
fact that the bunker is a sort of prison, the play has
less to do with physical than intellectual control. It
opens with a middle-aged man (Udo Samel) stand-
ing opposite a woman in the bunker. "I am nothing,"
he says. "I am nothing," she repeats. "I have you," he
says. "That is a dream," she replies. The parameters
of the play are set. Language can create and dictate
reality. Especially when here, the characters talk
about themselves in the third person and even speak
their stage directions before carrying them out. So
how real is this reality? And if it is nothing but a
linguistic construction, or a dream, dreams can also
turn to nightmares. This is a world of security and
insecurity, certainty and uncertainty, freedom and
captivity, loneliness and togetherness.
The man seems to have kidnapped the
woman in order to heal her, and she appears to have
fallen into a state of collusive dependence. For when
he indicates he wants to return her to the outside
world she resists to the hilt, despite his threat to cut
her fngers off. And when he does succeed in send-
Gerhart Hauptmann's Einsame Menschen, directed by Nora Schlocker. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
18
ing her back into the world she soon returns of her
own free will. The two are joined by a young man,
Peter, and a nameless "girl," whom the woman sees
a possible rivals who can "break everything apart,"
despite the fact that both seem to have been captured
against their will. Half way through the play, with-
out warning, the kidnapper dies and disappears from
the scene. The back wall of the bunker opens out to
become a sort of huge empty window and the three
captives are left to their own devices in what is de-
scribed as an "existential ping-pong." There are su-
perfcial resemblances here to Sartre's Huis Clos in
which two women and man fnd themselves trapped
for eternity in a claustrophobic hell. But whereas
Sartre's characters are caught in an emotional tangle
of sexual desire and rejection, Lygre's remain blood-
less and cold. And as confused as most of the audi-
ence. After one and three quarters hours without a
break, the play closed with the words, "My story is
empty." At least that was honest.
Perhaps the most fascinating of the new
plays in the season was Kevin Rittberger's Puppen
("Puppets"): not only for its content but its form.
Presented in the studio theatre, this is an ambitiously
absurd piece of surreal nonsense whose subtitleif
it were pompous enoughmight be "Desperate Peo-
ple in Search of the Meaning of Life." Indeed it does
have something of a hint of Monty Python, although
its humor never reaches such heights of inspired
madness, nor probably aspires to do so. This is clear
from the start in Rittberger's own staging (its Vienna
premiere in 2011 in the hands of another director had
received only a lukewarm reception) where the text
becomes the central part of a triptych, prefaced on
one side by a twenty minute orchestral prelude, and
rounded off on the other by a series of almost still-
life videos of solitary urban landscapes accompanied
by a laconic commentary.
The author-director describes his show
more as an installation than a play, and this is clear
from the stage which is almost bare apart from two
pieces of scaffolding, one a rectangle in black, and
the other a three meter high tower on wheels cov-
ered in red cloth. The show starts with the entrance
of a cellist who begins to play a harsh waltz, before
being joined by a drummer and eight other musi-
cians (strings, wind instruments, and a pianist) all
clad in outlandish uniforms reminiscent of Chinese
revolutionaries. Indeed, the music has something of
Brecht-Eisler's martial power mixed with overtones
of Mike Oldfeld's Tubular Bells and the music of
J ohn Adams. After about ten minutes you start to
wonder if you are in a play or a concert. The musi-
cians stop intermittently, then stubbornly take up the
theme again in all its variations as if to emphasize
their determination to create something new. But
when they come to a triumphant end a trapdoor
opens and they silently fle off into the bowels of
Arne Lygre's Tage unter, directed by Stphane Braunschweig. Photo: Elisabeth Carecchio.
19
the earth.
It is at this point that the play begins: it has
no ongoing narrative, no conventional dialogue and
no traditionally rounded characters. Instead, we are
confronted with a series of scenes announced by an
alien fgure in red shoes (the same strange actor who
played Horatio in Hamlet), involving a hairdresser
without clients, a greasy-haired grubby young man
called "Clandestino" (a term currently used to de-
scribe an illegal immigrant in Europe), a butcher
without customers, and a "women who falls prey to
attacks of giddiness." The young hairdresser is ob-
sessed with her own "beautiful hair" and constantly
rehearses the way she wants to present herself to the
outside world as if she is a model in a fashion show
or a television star. She is interrupted by Clandestino
who wants his hair cut but has no money to pay for
it. After telling her a wild story of his life including
drug dealing in Amsterdam and crossing borders il-
legally, he promptly announces that only half of it
is true anyway. In the emptiness of the encounter
they fall into each other's arms and desperately at-
tempt to fnd some meaning in sex, only to end up
in a farcically unfulflling tangle head to toe on the
foor before deciding to separate and go their own
ways. This is all accompanied by odd snatches of
the music heard in the prelude, but now reproduced
and distorted through a synthesizer by a performer
standing at one side of the stage.
No sooner has this scene ended than the
next is announced by the man in the red shoes. A
neatly dressed middle-aged "woman who falls prey
to attacks of giddiness" tells us in an almost hysteri-
cal burst of enthusiasm of her feeling of solidarity
with her fellow human beings, fueled by her par-
ticipation in a mass protest. For or against what we
never fnd out, but when her energy burns out, we see
an exhausted, lonely disorientated fgure who keeps
collapsing to the foor like a puppet cut free of its
strings. Clandestino attempts to pull her to her feet
on several occasions and, just as we have dismissed
his efforts as a hopeless venture, she begins to dance
and soar around the stage like a prima donna. Only
to keep collapsing once more when her energy runs
out. She is then reprimanded from the audience by a
third character, a brute of a man in a gray butcher's
apron and gloves. At one point he claims to have
been the latest in a long line in a family business go-
ing back to the last century; and at another he tells us
he has no idea of the butchery business at all. Indeed,
Kevin Rittberger, Hauschka and Stefan Schneider's Puppen, directed by Kevin Rittberger. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
20
it becomes clear after a time that his life consists of
standing behind an empty counter waiting for cus-
tomers who never arrive. In desperation he decides
to work on making a huge sausage with which to
feed the world, another senseless attempt to give his
existence a meaning. Needless to say he never even
begins to realize this ambition, and at the end of the
play he is surrounded by the orchestranow known
as the "army of people who are getting rid of work"),
placed on a platform with a white sign hanging
round his neck (shades of the Cultural Revolution)
and hammered into non-existence by abuse from
the chorus. The playtext ends with the chorus lined
up like jobless workers trudging off the stage into
an empty future and Clandestino confronting the
hairdresser once again with a short comment on her
beautiful hair. Happy end or no happy end? Hope
and mutual help, or hopelessness and helplessness?
How much are people in charge of their lives any-
more? How real are their lives? How meaningful? Is
it possible to give life a meaning in a disintegrating
world spinning free of values and orientation? These
are the questions which Rittberger seems to be ask-
ing.
By this time, not only I, but I sensed the
majority of the audience was as confused and frus-
trated as the characters we had been witnessing on
stage. But before we had time to digest what we
had seen so far, a huge white screen covering the
whole of the stage dropped down from the fies,
and a man in a dark suit behind a podium began to
deliver objective descriptions of a series of almost
still-life videos of realyet seemingly unrealur-
ban landscapes taken in Dsseldorf. The sense of un/
reality was heightened further by the fact that the
only characters seen in the videos were those from
the play. The hairdresser stands forlornly at a drab
windswept crossroads beneath a railway crossing,
the woman subject to fainting fts walks tentatively
along a disused rail track trying to keep her balance
on one of the rails. The butcher knocks continually
on a warehouse door in a deserted industrial estate
before disappearing slowly down another empty rail-
way line, and the whole cast are vaguely glimpsed in
a martial arts studio tucked away between an array
of offce blocks and run-down apartments. The la-
conic commentary on this last video ends with the
words "almost all of the windows and doors have
just been closed." So what to make of this hermetic
experience? Pretentious crap or pioneering genius?
Kevin Rittberger, Hauschka and Stefan Schneider's Puppen, directed by Kevin Rittberger. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
21
Perhaps a little of both. Nowadays the likes of Io-
nesco and Beckett seem utterly conventional, but
at the time they burst onto the Parisian stage in the
1950s, they were regarded by most people as utterly
incomprehensible.
Back in the Young People's Theatre, I was
presented with the German premiere of a group play
for audiences of ten years old and upwards, devised
in Holland by J etse Batelaan and his company from
Rotterdam. The Raised Finger refers to the gesture
used by adults to warn their children to behave them-
selves, but here it is the adults we are asked to ob-
serve around a children's playground sandpit. Before
the play starts, the children are separated from the
adults in the foyer and ordered not to utter a squeak
during the performance but to observe the goings-on
and discuss them afterwards. The children are then
told to occupy the front rows with the adults sitting
behind them. The result was disturbingly the quietest
atmosphere I have ever experienced in a children's
theatre show. The eighty-minute show displays the
various antics of four parents, Sarah, Rosa, Alex,
and Lukas who are supposed to be supervising
their children at the public playground. Although
the parents address their children, reprimand them,
offer them food, clean them off etc., we never see
the children themselves. Instead, our attention is fo-
cused on the shenanigans of the parents who, here in
an improvised situation, seem to behave even more
childishly than their offspring. Lukas tries to escape
as quickly as he can to play on a PlayStation with a
friend but tells his daughter he has to go off to work.
Rosa, a middle-class prig lays out half a library full
of children's books in the sandpit for the kids to read,
alongside an array of fresh fruit and vegetables in
Tupperware boxes. Sarah order her son around the
whole time whilst firting with her new boyfriend
Alex, who can't wait for his ex-wife to arrive and
take away their handicapped child. Sarah starts a
heavy firt with Lukas, and Rosa in turn with Alex.
As a former houseman myself, I failed almost en-
tirely to recognize any reality in the situations or the
characters who were played in an utterly exagger-
ated manner. At the end of the play a projection on a
screen at the back of the stage orders the children to
shout to the actors to shut up and stop the show. They
do so, following which the cast ask the children to
analyze what they had seen and give their comments.
J etse Batelaan's Der erhobene Zeigefnger (The Raised Finger), directed by Daniel Cremer. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
22
Unsurprisingly enough, the day I was there the kids
could say nothing particularly enlightening about the
show except that it was "funny" or "My parents are
much better than that." For me the message, apart
from the fact that adults aren't perfect, was disturb-
ingly authoritarian: sit there, shut up, and watch till
we tell you to say something. Weird.
The most distinguished guest director of
the season was Andrea Breth, who in her time has
produced some quite breath-takingsorry about
the unintended pun. It only works in Englishall
of which are noted for her love of detail and psycho-
logical fnesse. I shall long treasure the memory of
her production of Pirandello's fnal play The Moun-
tain Giants in Bochum around twenty years ago,
a mythical tale about a company of actors which
the author never managed to complete before his
death, and which Breth transformed into a cosmic
fable about reality and illusion, life and death. Since
then Andrea Breth has been a fxed star in all the
major theatres in the German-language world, most
recently at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Originally she
was scheduled to direct a play by J ean Anouilh in
Dsseldorf, but out of the blue and without explana-
tion this was changed to a play by the Russian writer
Isaac Babel: Marija. Originally from Odessa, Babel,
a J ew, wrote the play in 1935 as a biographical mem-
oir and a testimony to the self-deluding lies which
served to shore up Communist rule under Stalin.
Not surprisingly since its completion it has never
been performed in Russia and only seldom abroad.
As late as 1936, the French writer Andr Gide was
extolling Russia as the freest of all countries. Tragi-
cally, around the same time Stalin had begun his
great campaign of terror against any opponents real
or imagined, which ended in Babel being arrested
and subsequently murdered in 1940. Marija is set in
Petersburg around 1920. We never meet the epony-
mous heroine because she is fghting for the cause of
the socialist revolution at the Polish/Russian front,
as we learn from her letters. Unfortunately her idea
of the glorious workers' revolution is countered by
the harsh reality back home. The city has been redu- The city has been redu-
ced to poverty and hunger and all traces of morality
seem to have disappeared. Even Marija's own family
are not spared. Her father, a retired Czarist general
can only react in cynical amusement and fury to
Marija's letters, whilst her sister Ludmila is reduced,
like so many other respectable middle-class women
at the time, to prostituting herself with rich parve-
nus in order to survive. In this respect the decline
of Marija's family serves as a metaphor of the time.
They are caught in the middle of an epidemic of
moral corruption, raw manners, liquidation, spying,
black marketing, whoring, boozing, and racketeer-
ing. After eight sharp scenes of the brutal life in
the city the play ends with the general's apartment
being renovated for "people from the cellar" under
the command of a socialist commissarwho neither
knows nor cares where the family has now disap-
pearedto the sound of a military band outside ac-
companied by a parody of goose-step marching from
a cleaning woman, whilst a gaunt, heavily pregnant
woman perched in a wooden chair utters silent
howls of agony as the birth of her child approaches.
As might be expected Breth gives us a panorama
of individual scenes, so psychologically nuanced
and naturalistically presented in three dimensional
sets that one could be forgiven for thinking German
theatre had not moved on since the 1950s. Indeed, I
was caught between sheer admiration at the depth
of characterization she had dug out of her ensemble
of twenty-two actors (particularly outstanding here
were Peter J ecklin as the general and Imogen Kogge
as the housekeeper) and wonder at the boldness of
her "anachronistic" approach.
But as Holm said during an interview in
the middle of the season, perhaps this is all the more
revolutionary because it goes against the trend of
postmodern performative values which have had the
upper hand in Germany for the last thirty years or
so. Would such a production be invited to the Berlin
Theatertreffen in May, I wondered? It wasn't. But it
should have been. The last show I saw before the
WES deadline forced me to an abrupt halt, was once
more directed by Falk Richter, who was responsible
for the Houellebecq show. Rausch (Rush: as in a
feeling of ecstasy) is a collaborative project with the
Dutch choreographer Anouk van Dijk and a mixed
cast of twelve dancers and actors. It's all about the
problems facing young people today: the impossi-
bility of fnding a satisfactory relationship, virtual
friendships on Facebook and their disappointing re-
ality, the confusion arising from the huge amount of
choice available to them in all areas, their reactions
to traditional political parties, the Catholic Church,
the turbulence on the fnancial markets, the rich and
the royal.
The two main protagonists played by Alek-
sander Radenkovic and Lea Drager (Romeo and
J uliette!) are mired down in discussing every detail
of their relationship and its inadequacies, instead of
living it to the full. Something is missing in their
lives to make them completely happy, and no matter
how they try they cannot fnd it. They even have a
couple therapist whose interest, predictably enough
23
in an age where everyone is looking for their own
personal gain, is not so much in helping them as in
leeching from them as much money as he can. The
stage, designed by Katrin Hoffmann, bare apart from
a gold and black foor consists of just a few sofas,
scaffolding towers, and spotlights. The dialogue,
which mainly consists of monologues spoken either
to the audience or at (rather than to), each other is
interrupted at intervals, or accompanied simultane-
ously by the dancers who hurl themselves to and fro
against each other in a desperate and helpless attempt
to establish a stable relationship with each other. All
this to the accompaniment of loud electronic music
by Ben Frost. About an hour and a quarter into the
ninety-minute show the cast discover the occupy
movement, and proceed to move into an open-air
camp where they fnally seem to fnd a reason for
living. At this point, I half expected them to break
into the great hit from Hairand wouldn't that have
been great! But no, this was not the re-dawning of
the age of Aquarius at all. Far from it. In the 1960s,
most of the protesting youth had had nothing handed
to them on a plate by their parents and were looking
forward to building a brighter future for themselves.
But today's generationin the prosperous parts of
the West at leasthas been brought up to have it all
on demand, and is now watching in fear as the world
appears to be dissolving down the plughole into a
non-existent future. None of this, is of course new.
And had the evening consisted solely of the text it
would have been nothing more than a series of un-
digested regurgitations of contemporary issues per-
formed in a deadly serious manner. There was more
than enough pamphleteering in the text, but where
oh where was the lightness and the irony? And when
will German writers ever learn that they don't have
to be serious to be serious? Nonetheless, with the
extraordinary choreography and the music, it turned
out to be an entertaining, indeed provocative, piece
of theatre. Interestingly enough, on the night I was
there, only around thirty per cent of the audience at
the most, was under ffty!
How to sum up Holm's frst season, which
for deadline reasons, I was not able to see to the
end? Compared with the vast majority of theatres
all over the world, Dsseldorf Schauspielhaus, like
many others of its size and reputation in Germany,
is swimming in money. This enables it to take risks
which would be unthinkable in English and North
American theatres which are much more dependent,
Isaak Babel's Marija, directed by Andrea Breth. Photo: Bernd Uhlig.
24
if not entirely dependent, on the box offce for their
survival. The result is that it can afford to present
a huge repertoire of productions from the classical
theatre to the modern, in an unheard-of amount of
styles. Not everything in Staffan Valdemar Holm's
opening season in Dsseldorf has been a success.
Far too many of the new shows over-rely on out-
front monologues, and supposedly postdramatic
techniques like an avoidance of characterization,
psychological exploration, and simply story-telling,
all those virtues longed for by actors whose talents
are being reduced to the status of performative
mouthpieces. Not to speak of what the generally
conservative Dsseldorf audiences might want. It is
simply not good enough to alienate old established
season-ticket holders in the expectation that they
will automatically be replaced by new, younger au-
diences. As Peter Zadek once slyly asked the young
Christoph Schlingensief during a public discussion
in Bochum: "What have you got against older people
in the theatre? Don't they have as much right to be
there as the young?" Nonetheless, new and provoca-
tive elements have to be present if any theatre is to
remain alive, and it was good to have the opportunity
to view the works of hitherto unknown European
dramatists.
If Holm sticks to his policies, whilst check-
ing out some of his new play projects a little more
closely before letting them loose on the general pub-
lic, the Dsseldorf Schauspielhaus might just be on
the edge of a very exciting future. I wish him well.
Falk Richter's Rausch (Rush), directed by Falk Richter and Anouk van Dijk. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe.
25
With an impressive record of successful
productions in some of the most prestigious theatres
in the country, director Uli J ckle has become a ris-
ing star in German theatre. His latest, a production
of Die Odyssee (The Odyssey) premieres this Spring
at The Deutsches Theater in Berlin. His Odyssee is a
highly physical deconstruction of the classic poem,
and it features a cast of average, everyday Berliners
who answered the call to audition. J ckle is distin-
guished primarily by his success at working with
such non-actors. Two productions in 2011 featured
his distinctive approach to playmaking, Die groe
Pause, and Eins, zwei, drei und schon vorbei: Ein
Spiel vom Anfang und Ende der Dinge.
Die groe Pause
Using his company, Theater Aspik, and the
townspeople of Freiburg, J ckle created and staged a
production titled Die groe Pause (The Long Break)
in the Spring of 2011. The play was a site-specifc,
audience-interactive form of "trekking theatre," in
which the audience is taken on a literal and fgurative
journey through a specifcally chosen performance
space; in this case, an abandoned clock factory. The
collagestyle text of the play was pulled from thirty
years of the factory's newspaper, published every
week, from poems to sports editorials, all written by
employees of the factory.
The performance was divided into two
parts. In the frst, the audience sat outside and
watched a recreation of a soccer game played de-
cades earlier by the factory and one of its rivals. The
game was played by children from Freiburg, dressed
in the same clothing the men had worn at the time
(to scale), with fake beards and other facial hair. In
the second part, the audience was taken inside the
factory and encouraged to walk around freely. Using
the various interior spaces of the building, rooms,
hallways, stairwells, kitchens, lounges, J ckle cre-
ated a collection of performance installations, each
one refecting the experiences of the workers who
spent so many years there. In a kitchen area, there
was a room covered in aluminum foilfoil that
employees had wrapped their sandwiches in for de-
cades. In another room, thirty years of data-printouts
were piled into the center of a gigantic space once
One, Two, Three, and Already Over: The Theatre of Uli Jckle
Brian Rhinehart
Die groe Pause, created and directed by Uli J ckle. Photo: Theater Aspik.
26
occupied by hundreds of employees.
Each installation allowed for audience in-
teraction. They could touch the materials, speak to
the performers and engage with the performance
itself. Because J ckle's style puts the audience in
charge of its own artistic experience, they were al-
lowed to linger with one particular installation or
move rapidly throughout.
Because many of the townspeople in the
cast and in the audience were returning to the factory
for the frst time in two decades, the performance
was deeply emotional and very well-received. The
production was both a critical and personal success
for J ckle, whose father had worked at the factory
for thirty years, and for the community that had been
devastated by the loss of an industry in that it took
such pride.
Track work
J ckle has a unique approach to play-
making, an approach that keeps different "tracks"
separated, most notably the visual, aural, and textual
tracks of a performance. Separating a performance
into tracks enables him to explore the ways in which
different onstage media, sign systems, and modes
of expression interrelate to produce meaning for the
spectator. J ckle dismantles the basic elements of
theatre (such as movement, gesture, dialogue, music,
sound, etc.), and then re-arranges them into new and
surprising confgurations. The effect on the audience
is analogous to that of Cubism in the visual arts,
wherein the viewer is called upon to reorganize the
reality of the vision on the canvas, and in doing so,
he or she becomes an integral part in the creation of
its meaning. J ckle's process stands in opposition to
the theatre of realistic illusion, in which the specta-
tor passively observes the objective reality onstage
as a spectator of fne art would look at a portrait by
Rembrandt, all the work having been done for him
or her by the master.
Track work turns viewers into collabora-
tors, each of whom must analyze and arrange the
various tracks on the stage to ft their own sensibili-
ties. Each audience member thus creates a meaning
that is singular and different from that of everyone
else. Rather than attempting to create a seamless and
illusory version of reality onstage, J ckle dispenses
with the fourth wall and invites each spectator to
participate in production of meaning within what
he calls the "third room." For him, the theatrical
moment does not happen in the room on the stage,
or in the room of the audience's imagination, but
in a "third room," a transitional space between the
two. By rearranging the tracks in unpredictable and
surprising ways, J ckle creates a complex, theatre
open to multiple interpretations that takes place in
this space of fantasy between the objective reality of
Die groe Pause, created and directed by Uli J ckle. Photo: Theater Aspik.
27
the stage, and the subjective reality of the spectator's
imagination.
Everyday People
In November 2010, J ckle staged the pro-
duction of Eins, zwei, drei und schon vorbei: Ein
Spiel vom Anfang und Ende der Dinge (One, Two,
Three, and Already Over: A Play About the Begin-
ning and End of Things) at the Dresden Staatss-
chauspielhaus, to rave reviews. The play was then
subsequently staged at the Braunschweig Staats-
schauspielhaus in J une of 2011.
Eins, zwei, drei is a play about the begin-
nings and endings of life. It consists of a collection
of interviews with thirty-fve residents of Dresden
young girls and boys (ages nine to sixteen), and older
men and women (ages ffty-eight to seventy). The
interviews, conducted by J ckle's writing partners
Carsten Schneider and Suzanne J . Hensel, were de-
signed to be as evocative and emotionally engaging
as possible. The three of them then combined those
responses into a dramatic collage. The loose frame
for this collage was a series of voice-overs contain-
ing interview prompts about the performers' lives in
ten year increments, such as "Finish this sentence: At
ten years old I want(ed) to be...," or "At twenty,"
and so on through seventy years old.
The use of everyday people and not profes-
sional actors gives the performance a sincerity that is
often missing from professional productions, a sense
of realness that invites the spectator to participate
in a deeper, more meaningful way than that of con-
ventional theatre. Though they lack the smooth so-
phistication of professionals, the non-actors of Eins,
zwei, drei seemed to have less guile, less to prove
than professional actors, which relieved the pressure
on the audience to somehow form a judgment about
each "actor's" performance. Absolved of objective
responsibilities, the audience was free to immerse
themselves in the experience of real people, saying
real things about the most important subjects of all:
life and death.
J ckle believes that when using non-actors
the most compelling material, and that of which it is
easiest for them to speak honestly and truthfully to
an audience, comes from them: stories about their
lives, about who they are, who they were, who they
want to be. Using specifc details of those stories,
J ckle creates affecting and rich portraits of human
life.
Working with non-professionals to create
a performance from the ground up, using the sensi-
tive material of the actors' lives, demands a complex
inter-relational approach from the director. There is
a need for a far more intimate relationship with the
people involved than in a traditional theatre setting,
where professionals come together, usually for a
month, to perform an already written and polished
text. The conventional director's situation is even
more transient as he or she swoops in, barely getting
to know the cast and crew, and then, as soon as it
opens, fies out to direct the next show. In contrast,
J ckle's rehearsal process sometimes takes as long
as six months. An environment of safety and non-
judgment must be created in order for the cast to feel
comfortable enough to share their intimate personal
details with him. For this reason, he must take far
more time getting to know each person in the cast,
earning their trust, helping them to open up, so that
heand the audiencecan experience the truth of
their lives.
One, Two, Three
The opening segment of Eins, zwei, drei
included a voice over based on the responses to the
interview prompt, "Finish this sentence: At the end
of my life I want" The answers were played while
one of the elderly women in the cast crossed to the
front of the stage (a thirty by thirty feet elevated plat-
form), sat down, and inexplicably drank the contents
of a large bottle of water without stopping. Some of
the interviewees' voice-over responses during this
event were,
To have an acting and singing career in
Hollywood.
To still be ft. Be cheerful. Be happy
and have no problems.
Not to be in a nursing home. To die
in the circle of my family.
That I can still say goodbye to everyone.
That they say only good things about me.
That I can say: "My life was worth it."
To say: "It was a nice life, and now
I can go in peace."
A beautiful death. To die with dignity.
J ckle thus establishes the logic of his pro-
duction at the outset, especially his willingness to
dismantle the "tracks" of conventional theatre. The
fact of the woman's unpredictable gesture was medi-
ated, turned into something new by the voice-over's
litany of specifc, highly personal statements about
the end of life. It was a complex moment of theatre.
The woman's act, with its clear beginning and end,
became a striking metaphor for the production itself.
Following this moment, the stage became
a kind of battleground as the older members of the
cast took it over, but were immediately frightened
28
away by the children who, as the lights shifted from
bright to eerily dark, rose up ominously from behind
the stage and advanced downstage in slow motion
to a heavy rock score. Suddenly the music broke,
the lighting shifted back to normal, and the children
gleefully shouted their responses to the interview
prompt, "I look forward to," with answers rang-
ing from "my birthday," to "ski-camp in the seventh
grade."
The children then leapt energetically off the
stage and it was left empty. Slowly, cautiously, one
of the women mounted the stage. A light piece of in-
strumental music began; she came downstage to the
audience and said, "The most beautiful thing is,"
and then started to dance joyously by herself. One
by one, the other adults joined her, until they were
all onstage, mirroring her choreographed move-
ments. Weaving his way between them, one of the
boys began to speak the responses to the interview
prompt, "Old people." As he delivered lines such
as, "Old people like to eat cake," and "Old people
can be wonderful and awful," the elderly perform-
ers danced gleefully and vigorously around him. In
keeping with J ckle's track work style, he remained
unaffected by the other people onstage, the perfor-
mance tracks (dance, character, narrative, gesture,
and emotion) having been re-confgured to create a
spacethe third roomfor the audience to fll with
its own subjective meaning.
As this segment ended, chairs were brought
to the stage for the older performers by the children,
and all sat and listened to a voice-over, "At eight
years old," and "At nine years old." When a
performer's recorded response was being spoken in
the voice-over, they would raise a hand, acknowl-
edging their voice and their contribution to that mo-
ment. Toward the end of the voice-over, the elderly
performers seemed to age dramatically, slumping in
their seats, appearing to lose consciousness, as one of
the young performers danced a short choreographed
piece of ballet at the front of the stage.
The next, rather lengthy segment began
with the voice-over prompt, "My frst...," which in-
cluded responses such as, "My frst memory was of
my mom," and "My frst time I was already engaged,
but my parents didn't know it yet," as well as com-
ments about frst cars, frst fghts, and frst kisses.
Several "My frst" monologues followed. A boy
told the story of his frst love; a young girl spoke of
her frst love letter, and at the end of her monologue,
a boy entered and told the story of his traumatic frst
haircut. In this segment, J ckle again created a dense,
Eins, zwei, drei und schon vorbei, directed by Uli J ckle. Photo: David Baltzer.
29
multi-layered collage of tracks. As the boy described
how his tension over the unwanted coiffeur rose, a
heavy rock score began, and he was forced to scream
out the words. The adults then quickly took the stage
and began to dance behind him. During this action,
a girl entered the stage and started to dance opposite
him, facing away from the audience, with a mon-
ster mask on the back of her head. As his vociferous
narrative began to wind down, several of the older
performers removed the mask from her head and
escorted him off the stage. The girl then danced a
ballet as the voice-over delivered a list of interview
responses to the prompt, "At ten years old."
When the voice-over was fnished, the
dancer told the story of how, at ten years old, she
had become interested in the harp. As she spoke her
monologue, several of the men and women placed
a harp onstage and she sat down and started play-
ing. Soon she was joined by a man, who sang the
repetitive lines, "Little monsters, big monsters play
all day," while the rest of the cast accompanied them
on recorders.
Several segments then featured young cast
members responding to such emotionally provoca-
tive prompts as "At the end of my life, I want,"
and "I will die when," which were followed by a
kick-line style dance with men and women wearing
adult diapers. As the line broke up and he scampered
deftly among the admiring women, he delivered a
lengthy monologue about death, in which he listed
a multitude of colorful euphemisms and substitute
phrases for the concepts of death and dying, from
"bite the dust," to "chat with the mealworms."
As the monologue and the dancing ended,
the men and women exited and the children were
revealed at the back of the stage in the middle of a
birthday party, twirling plates and watching a puppet
dance on the edge of the stage. Both children and
adults then marched joyfully around the perimeter
of the stage, blowing noisemakers in birthday cel-
ebration style. A blackout changed the atmosphere
abruptly. The sound of the marching turned ominous,
became resonant of jack-boots, and in the dark, one
of the women delivered a tense and emotional mono-
logue about the Dresden frebombing of 1944.
When the lights came up again, a young
girl spoke the responses to the interview prompt, "I
will never."
Eins, zwei, drei und schon vorbei, directed by Uli J ckle. Photo: David Baltzer.
30
I'll never eat fsh again.
I will never ride on a bicycle again.
I will never disappoint others.
I will never again wear a wedding dress.
I'll never go back to kindergarten.
I will never again start from scratch.
I'll never be young again.
As she fnished the litany, the men and
women gathered upstage behind her. Marion Black's
song "Who Knows" began to play, and they started
to dance and sing the lyrics. The children entered
the stage from the back, mixing in with the adults.
A lighting shift occurred (from bright to eerily dark),
and they all started to advance in slow motion to the
front of the stage. When they arrived, a blackout sig-
naled the end of the show.
J ckle's production illuminated the vulner-
abilities and strengths of both youth and age, from
the pangs of frst love to the comfort of a life-long
relationship. Formally innovative, yet warm and ac-
cessible throughout, this unpredictable and surpris-
ing new work created a powerful and deeply affect-
ing portrait of human life. It also forged a rare and
signifcant connection between a divergent group of
young and old people, each from completely differ-
ent backgrounds and life experiences. Through their
personal stories and their unguarded willingness to
expose themselves night after night, they were able
to share that extraordinary connection with receptive
and appreciative audiences throughout the run of the
show.
The secret to J ckle's success at creating
such plays with non-actors is that he insists that his
performers matter more to him than the productions
themselves. He never wants them to feel exploited or
that their lives are only important to him as "mate-
rial" for the stage. He treats them with compassion
and sensitivity, but he treats them just as he would
more experienced actors, with professionalism
and confdence in their ability to accomplish what
he asks of them. He trusts them with a great deal
of responsibility and takes their contributions in re-
hearsal very seriously. J ckle deeply appreciates the
fresh perspective that non-actors bring to the pro-
cess, and never tries to turn them into slick, polished
professionals. To him, the skill that they acquire in
preparation and rehearsal isn't nearly as important as
the truth and the vulnerability that they bring to the
stage.
Eins, zwei, drei und schon vorbei, directed by Uli J ckle. Photo: David Baltzer.
31
The highlight of the Berlin theatrical season
is unquestionably the May Theatertreffen, which
offers over a two-three week period the outstanding
productions from the German-speaking world,
selected by a host of leading critics and writers.
The theatre offerings in Berlin are so rich, however,
that even if one attends all of the productions in the
festival, there remain a number of free evenings to
attend other attractive works in the city.
Thus in May, in addition to the thirteen
productions in the Theatertreffen I was also able
to get at least a small sampling of the city's other
theatre attractions. Two of these were at the Maxim
Gorki Theatre, a centrally located house not far from
the Berliner Ensemble and the Deutsches Theatre,
but with a less distinguished reputation. The Gorki
is the smallest of the Berlin state theatres, seating
only 440. For many years indeed it was generally
considered a house dedicated to rather convcentional
and old-fashioned revivals of standard classics from
the German and international repertoire. The arrival
of a new Intendant, Armin Petras, in 2006, did not
radically change the Gorki repertoire (in May one
could see such standards as Drrenmatt's The Visit
and Ibsen's A Doll Housethe two I sawas well
as Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, Goethe's
Iphigenie auf Tauris, Kleist's Der zerbrochene Krug
and Ktchen von Heilbronn), but on the whole these
are presented in much more radical adaptations and
cuttings more typical of the productions at the larger
houses in recent decades.
Such was certainly the case with the two
productions I saw there. The frst was Drrenmatt's
The Visit, but so far removed from its 1950s original
as to be almost a new play. Apparently Petras,
director of this Visit, was infuenced by Michael
Thalheimer who frequently radically cuts traditional
texts and collaborates with designer Olaf Altmann,
who created the setting for this production. The
bottom part of this setting, a huge sweep of stark
white stairs that fll the proscenium opening and
descend into the audience, whith a narrow acting
area halfway down, distinctly recalls Altmann's set
for Thalheimer's Oresteia, complete with a single
fgure on that platform as the audience enters, a
smoking Clytemnesta in the Oresteia, a prone Alfred
Ill, his back to us, in The Visit. At the top of the
staircase is a long opening with curtains at the rear,
Report from Berlin
Marvin Carlson
Drrenmatt's The Visit, directed by Armin Petras. Photo: Bettina Stoss.
32
this opening so low that actors must stoop to enter or
exit, distinctly echoing the similar stage arrangement
Altmann created for Thalheimer's Die Ratten.
Where Petras most strikingly departs from
Thalheimer, however, is in the orientation of his
much reduced version and in the overall style of
performance. Thalheimer's unconventional use of
speaking rhythms, with long pauses and extremely
rapid staccato passages, is never heard here, where
the approach is determinedly realistic, removing
even the grotesque ironic edge so central to the
original. Moreover, Thalheimer's cutting is widely
regarded, at least by his supporters, as exposing the
"essence" of the play, while that of Petras takes the
play in quite a different direction. As already noted,
almost all of the grotesque elements are gonethe
old lady's peculiar entourage. All that remains is a
single "sick young woman" called Leopard, who
in fact has little direct contact with the old lady,
but in a black body suit accompanies the action
by moving around the stage like a kind of balletic
chorus. She is physically quite attractive as is the old
lady, here named Clara and described (and played)
as "a beautiful woman." There is nothing of the odd
or deformed about Christine Hoppe, who gives a
marvelous performance, but one more suggestive of
a 1940s flm star than of a distorted character in a
modern morality play.
Andreas Leopard plays her distinctly
unworthy opponent, Alfred Ill, "a former dandy,"
with sympathy but without much enthusiasm. The
rest of the cast is composed of Ill's son and daughter
(Stefko Hanuchevsky and Anne Mller) and three
town offcials, the major (Wolfgang Michalek), the
police chief (Matthias Reichwald), and a journalist
(Gunnar Teuber), who often function as a kind of
informal chorus.
Very often in his work, Petras focuses upon
the tensions between East and West Germany, still
not entirely resolved today. This is clearly the case
with his version of Drrenmatt's play. While the
original was clearly meant to be a general parable of
human vulnerability to corruption, this version takes
on a much more specifc and local coloring. Clara
is clearly the young East German who has escaped
to the opulent West and returns to her poverty-
stricken border town to show off her capitalist
gains. There is certainly a political criticism made
both of her arrogance and of the town's passivity
and willingness to capitulate to the threats of local
bullies like the Stasi, but the concerns remain at this
local geopolitical level, rather tired and obvious even
to German audiences. Despite some strong acting,
the piece has been clearly diminished by Petras's
The Visit. Photo: Bettina Stoss.
33
adjustments.
One other element should be mentioned.
Above the proscenium arch video projections are
from time to time used to supplement the action,
a device very popular on the German stage of the
1990s but now only infrequently seen. Few of these
contribute in a signifcant way to the action, but the
closing one provides a strong terminal comment.
Ill's daughter is shown at the train station, obviously
pregnant and with a suitcase in hand, clearly retracing
Clara's path a generation later. It is a striking image
but its meaning is anything but clear. We know
nothing about the contextwhy she is pregnant,
for example, and although the message seems to be
that nothing has changed, it is not clear how we are
to feel about this. Like much of the production, this
fnal image is striking, but emotionally empty.
My second visit to the Gorki, two days later,
was for a new interpretation of Ibsen's Doll House
(called Nora in German), which I found suffered
from some of the same problems. I was interested
in this staging since it was the frst I had seen from
a much-praised younger director, J orinde Drse.
Drse was appointed house-director at the Gorki
this season, after successful productions of classic
and contemporary plays over the past eight years
in Hamburg, Bochum, Frankfurt, and Munich. Her
style has been described as nave and whimsical,
and in the case of classic works has usually involved
a lightly humorous retelling of the basic story in
contemporary terms. This was certainly true of her
Doll House, though not, I thought, to the good of
the play. The issue of women's rights was clearly
subordinated to the more fashionable subject of the
corruptions of capitalism, with much made of the
business side of the playthe borrowed money,
Nora's extravagances, Torvald's new position,
the negotiations at the bank, Christine's fnancial
diffculties, and so onbut while these concerns are
certainly important to the play, they are diminished
by a series of visual, acting, and directing tricks that
distract from their impact.
The play begins in total darkness, and in
silence where for several minutes the audience
sees the glow of a cigarette smoked by a dim,
unidentifable fgure in three successive locations on
Henrik Ibsen's Nora, directed by J orinde Drse. Photo: Bettina Stoss.
34
stage. We never discover who this was or why it was
shown, a warning of the often inexplicable directing
choices to follow. The setting once again was a
geometric minimalist space, strongly suggesting
a Thalbach production. Windowless dull rose
patterned side walls raked sharply back to a fat red
wall containing what looked like a revolving door
with two transparent openings facing the audience.
This mechanical arrangement somewhat suggested
a design by Andres Kriegenberg, with whom the
designer, Susanne Schuboth, has studied. It turned
out not to work quite as it appeared. After the
opening scenes the visible doors slid into pockets on
either side, leaving the panel projecting toward the
audience to pivot alone on its center, so that it could
completely close the rectangular opening or (as it
was more frequently used, especially by Nora and
Torvald in the closing scene) as a means of visually
separating two characters who could push on it and
by its turning gain spatial dominance over the other.
This same scenic device was used more centrally
and more effectively a few years ago for the much-
praised Gotscheff The Persians at the Deutsches
Theater.
Within this setting, the furnishing is both
minimal and whimsical. On the right are two chairs
with a standing ashtray between them. One is very
small, almost a child's chair, the other is clearly
oversized, dwarfng anyone who sits it in. I thought
of course that something metaphorical might be
done with these chairs, rather as Lee Breuer did with
his reduced settings (and actors) in his imaginative
Dollhouse, but surprisingly, that was not so. The
only person who used the large chair extensively
was Kristine (Anja Schneider) and although it indeed
gave her an infantile appearance, this seems to have
little relationship to the production. The small chair
was rarely used at all, and most notably by Dr. Rank
(Andreas Leupold), who after his fnal "Thanks for
the light" does not leave the stage at once but lies
down on the foor by the small chair, with his heand
in it, cries and sobs loudly for several minutes and
then carries the chair away with him.
The only other object on stage is a small
white box against the opposite wall. It is established
as a small refrigerator when Kristine arrives and
Nora (Hilke Altefrohne) serves her a roll from it.
Later in the production, Torvald (Peter Kurth) puts
a photograph record behind it and it begins playing
music, so it apparently is supposed to be some sort
of record player as well. When opened, it displays a
jumble of colored lights.
The visual effects, usually with a cartoonish
edge, are intermittently effective. I did enjoy Nora's
frst entrance, when she appears totally enclosed in
a large gift-wrapped box, carrying a tree and other
boxes, so that it is some time before we are sure who
she in fact is. Other devices, though spectacular,
were less effective. Particularly odd was a
1950s-style dance, lead by Torvald (whose costume,
hairdo, and general style distinctly evoked Grease)
but involving the entire cast, even the children
and Krogstad (Gunnar Teuber) which inexplicably
seemed to replace the rehearsal of the tarentella.
Hilke Altefrohne's Nora was tall, gawky, and
awkward, but one had to develop a certain sympathy
for her. Oddly enough, her costumes, also designed
by Schuboth, made her appear clearly pregnant,
but I am not sure that was a designed effect. Peter
Kurth's Torvald seemed essentially a foolish 1950s
adolescent, and although his rage at Nora seemed
played for a kind of farce comedy, it did demonstrate
a considerable expressive range. Leupold's Rank
was rather underplayed but generally effective,
though why he made his frst entrance saying "I just
rode in from Kansas City. How about a whisky" in
English in a Texas accent seemed an odd choice,
even though he did wear cowboy boots. Gunnar
Teuber's Krogstad ultimately proved by far the most
sympathetic of the characters. For some reason his
"sons" were converted in this production into a
single adolescent daughter, who accompanied him
on every visit to the Torvald home and remained
hovering and visible outside and upstage, during each
of his scenes, an oddly distracting and somewhat
inexplicable presence.
The ending of this play, probably Ibsen's most
famous, has, not surprisingly, been staged in a variety
of original ways by modern German directors, eager
to show their independence of established texts,
but I have never seen a more peculiar Doll House
ending than this one. Torvald and Nora stage their
fnal confrontation upstage, as I have said, pushing
each other backward and forward on either side of
the rotating panel. Behind them, an area which has
either been a blank wall or shown projections (mostly
of children's faces) during the evening is now for the
frst time open into a black void, in which we see
swirling snow. Still shouting at each other, Nora and
Torvald slowly disppear into this void, apparently in
opposite directions. For a moment the stage is empty
and then their two children enter hand in hand,
looking off after their parents. Then the children sit
on the platform in front of the panel and continue
with the lines where the parents left off, now very
near the end of the play. After a few lines however,
35
the apparent absurdity of the situation strikes them
and they dissolve into laughter. The voice of the
prompter is heard, urging them to go on but when
they do not, the prompter speaks the fnal lines and
the lights go out. Are we to take this as a dismissal
of the play? Of Ibsen? Of theatre itself? I took it
essentially as a rather adolescent prank by a director
without a clear concept but only a desire to surprise
an audience by her daring.
No less unconventional, no less anarchic, but
still more satisfying as a whole was the production I
saw at the Volksbhne of Brecht's "teaching plays,"
The Yea-Sayer and The Nay-Sayer, directed by Frank
Castorf. Castorf, who emerged onto the Berlin scene
as an enfant terrible in 1992, has now become a
pillar of the Berlin stage, his twenty years heading
the same theatre unmatched by any other Intendant.
Many of the stylistic features that marked Castorf's
early work are still central to his current offerings
the slapstick comedy, the physical violence, the
metatheatrical self-consciousness, the adding into
the production external material, especially from
contemporary popular cultureand the critical
establishment in Berlin now tends to dismiss
Castorf's work as overly repetitive. Certainly these
complaints might be leveled against the production
of these two short teaching plays combined into one,
but in a performance lasting only forty minutes, the
humor and energy of the interpretation carried the
audience along.
The setting, by Castorf's house designer, Bert
Neumann, suggested the interior of a cheap music
hall. In the center of the mirrored back wall was
a small interior proscenium stage with glittering
curtains, above it a large sign (in English) "Dreams
for Sale." Above that was a more general title "Salon
Gier" suggesting an affnity with the pseudo-Westerm
town constructed in the Volksbhne by Neumann
for Castorf's 2006 adaptation of Frank Norris Gier
(Greed). Greed is still strongly suggested in this
combined "teaching play," one of a series of four
mounted by Castorf between 2007 and 2010 (the
others being Die Manahme in 2008 and Lehrstck
in 2010). Brecht's two "researchers" are dressed as
successful Western business men, with power suits
and briefcases, the louder and pudgier of the two
(Bernhard Schtz) aparently teaching the trade to
the less self-confdent Maximilian Speck. Schtz is
a tornado of comic energy, dashing about the stage
and out into the audience in continual action, with
Bertolt Brecht's Der Jasager (The Yay-Sayer), directed by Frank Castorf. Photo: Thomas Aurin.
36
the hapless Speck in his wake. The frst row of the
audience is temporary white plastic garden chairs
which curve around the sides of the acting area, with
actual audience members seated generally in the
middle. From time to time Schtz will throw himself
into one of these chairs, which breaks apart under
this attack, leaving a trail of ruin about the stage.
Schtz also stampedes, rages at, and knocks
over the stools of the two faux elegant songstresses
(Ana Charim and Ruth Rosenfeld) who attempt
to deliver the songs written by Kurt Weill for the
Jasager amidst the continuing mayhem. They are
accompanied by musical director Reinhold Friedl
at the piano, who manages to maintain a generally
aloof detachment from the proceedings.
Despite the hysterical protests of his mother
(Brigitte Cuvelier), the nave young man (Axel
Wandtke) is drawn into the project of the travelers.
His central decision, to say yes to the demands of
the journey and society even if it means his death,
is taken well out in the auditorium, where he has
been led by the intrepid Schtz. The audience need
not turn in their seats to follow this action, however,
because of it. Like the entirety of the production, is
being followed by the hand-held, live video camera
of Andreas Deinert, who provides closeups over
every distorted grimace which are projected on
a large screen above the acting area to the right
another familiar Castorf device.
When it comes time for the yea-sayer's
sacrifce, he is pursued offstage by the others, who
then come back and run about the stage looking
up into the fies, from whence a few minutes later,
a life-size white dummy is dropped. The grieving
mother seizes and dances with it, then, seated
quietly beneath the screen, proved an alternative
moral (somewhat oddly, in French), the moral of
Brecht's counter play, The Nay-Sayer, which argues
that a better solution is to propose new alternatives
to conventional wisdom and practice. Only the latter
part of this second play is involved, the set-up being
similar. The son returns to life, the Singers celebrate
the telling of a new story, and all the characters join
on the small stage in a celebratory dance.
In 1974, Fluxus poet Dieter Roth published
an experimental novel of 174 pages which consisted
entirely of the single word "murmel," (murmer)
repeated over and over. An odd enough experiment
for a novel, it could hardly be expected to be taken
up as a libretto for a stage production, less still an
enormously popular one. Yet, that is the remarkable
achievement of Germany's leading comic director,
Dieter Roth's Murmel Murmel, directed by Herbert Fritsch. Photo: Courtesy dpa.
37
Herbert Fritsch, whose Murmel Murmel at the
Volksbhne, where Fritsch was for many years a
leading actor, is currently the most sought-after ticket
in the Berlin season. It should be noted that Fritsch
is currently among the most honored of German
directors, with two productions out of the ten in last
year's prestigious Theatretreffen and another this
year (with Murmel Murmel a very likely candidate
for next year). The productions are very different,
but all employ an impressive comic imagination,
drawing heavily upon slapstick, physical humor,
burlesque, and silent flm comedy.
Murmel Murmel is a bit more formal and
elegant than Fritsch's recent (Spanische Fliege), based
on an early twentieth century farce and containing
more pratfalls that I think I have ever seen in a single
production, but that does not mean that actors do not
fall off the stage into the pit with alarming regularity
and nonchalance. Indeed, the production begins with
a conductor noisily entering an auditorium door and
pushing his way along the frst row of seats until he
falls into the orchestra pit, only to pop up, station
himself at a piano right and begin "conducting" the
frst actor, who appears onstage to recite "murmel"
innumerable times in various intonations under his
direction. In the hour and a half which follows, no
plot develops, but rather a series of solos, duets, and
choric numbers, somewhat suggesting an evening
of comic modern dance. The actors wear sometimes
neutral, sometimes more colorful, but rather elegant
and not exaggerated contemporary dress (costumes
by Marysol del Castillo) and perform against,
behind, and alongside a colorful abstract setting
designed by the director and Thomas Dreiigacker.
This consists essentially of sets of wings and borders
in primary colors, rather like a children's stage,
and as the production progresses, these elements
all become more and more active, constantly
changing the size and shape of the performing area.
Eventually, another scenic element is addedlarge
slide fats, also each of a single color, that slide from
one side of the stage to the other, temporarily hiding
the actors behind them. As these fats pass on, they
take the actors with them or reveal new actors or
new confgurations.
The spectacle and ingenuity of the production
clearly enchants its audience, and ninety minutes of
the same word far from becoming boring, continually
builds in delight. By the end in repeated curtain
calls that are extended even by German standards,
audience and actors alike joyfully exchange repeated
cries of "murmel, murmel."
Finally, back to the Volksbhne for a new
production (it opened in December) by one of my
favorite German directors, Andreas Kriegenburg.
This was Kleist's diffcult and challenging dark
Heinrich von Kleist'sKthchen von Heilbronn, directed by Andreas Kriegenburg. Photo: wrb.
38
fairy-tale play, Kthchen von Heilbronn. Although
the setting (Kriegenburg normally designs his own
sets) was stunning and there were many images and
sequences of great beauty and theatrical imagination,
I did not feel that this production represented
Kriegenburg's best work. A superfcial unity was
imposed on Kleist's sprawling work, but one still
had the feeling of a rather disjointed production, not
entirely focused either emotionally or theatrically.
Kriegenburg's concept is an interesting
one. Rather than stage the play directly, he stages
the development of the play in Kleist's own mind.
The curtain rises to reveal a high-ceilinged wood-
paneled room, all of its walls covered with pinned
up manuscript pages. Four writing desks are lined
up across the room, at each of which sits a Kleist
double in early nineteenth century dress, avidly
working on the developing manuscript with a quill
pen. Two others are tacking up fresh pages to the
already thickly papered back wall, seemingly
walking upright up and down the wall, though
actually supported by cables from above. This acting
on the wall effect, central to Kriegenburg's famous
production of Kafka's The Trial a few years ago, was
several times used in this production, but not in so
central a manner.
As the evening progresses, the six actors
move in and out of Kleist's play, sometimes reading
scenes or stage directions, sometimes commenting
on these, sometimes reading other Kleist material,
essays or selections from his letters. Certain passages,
especially a plea to his sister Ulrike for money, are
frequently repeated. The play's action is complex to
begin with but with all this extraneous material, only
an audience member with a solid knowledge of the
original and preferably of Kleist's other writings as
well, could be expected to follow the rather stream-
of-consciousness presentation, especially since the
different characters are passed freely around among
the actors and at times played by two or three actors
simultaneously. A scene where the heroine falls
asleep beneath an elderberry bush and is confronted
by her potential lover is simultaneously performed
by actors in three different parts of the stage, one
couple to the right, another suspended on the upstage
wall as previously described, and thirdly by tiny
fgures in a toy theatre downstage to the left.
The toy theatre was a part of one of the
evening's most distinctive features. Taking his
cue from Kleist's most famous essays, "On the
Marionette Theatre," Kriegenburg supplemented
his action with a wide variety of puppet fgures,
ranging in size from the toy theatre fgures, almost
too small to be distinguished from the auditorium, to
somewhat larger than life-size knights in full body
armor, each manipulated from behind by a single
actor. Most common were puppets of intermediate
size, some operated rather in the style of muppets,
others controlled from above by strings. These added
a striking and engaging design element to the whole
and in some cases, especially the grotesque puppet
of the evil Kunigunde, were considerably more
memorable than the shifting human representatives.
As always with Kriegenburg, there were
highly effective visual creations. The setting
itself with its set of Kleists, all in similar garb and
similar makeup, white faces with dark sunken eyes,
assiduously working away, gave a wonderful effect.
The burning of the castle was beautifully and simply
handled, beginning with the actors intertwining their
quill pens to suggest fames and going on to opening
trap doors at the rear of the stage so that orange and
red lights illuminated from below the many sheets of
paper pinned to the back wall, now agitated by two
actors fapping their coats to create bursts of air. It
gave an astonishing, a very theatrical impression of a
burning wall. At another point, as the lovers consider
a double suicide, likened by Kleist to a painting,
their almost naked bodies are arranged entwined
together on a table to suggest rolling hills, an effect
emphasized by scattering green particles and placing
a few miniature trees on the gentle slopes of these
bodies. Dream and reality, theatre and life, painting
and performance, puppetry and humanity are
memorably fused in this imaginative image. If such
images and sequences did not ultimately fuse into
a complete theatrical experience, that may in part
be attributed to the diffculty of this erratic text, but
even with its faws, Kriegenburg's exploration of the
mind of Kleist is well worth seeing.
39
British playwrights have the advantage
of the richest language in the world; its words and
phrases brought in or gathered from all directions,
even before the Empire began collecting animals,
plants, and linguistic treasures from the remotest
corners of the earth. These days they almost need the
advantage. Their plays must stand up to the inven-
tive power of set designers who create each London
season what is, in effect, a multi-venue ephemeral
architecture exhibition. In some cases the transitory
constructions fulfll the duties of a Greek chorus.
This was certainly evidenced this J anuary in most of
the ffteen plays I saw.
Yet the stagecraft, even without the chorus
obligations is a collaboration rather than a compe-
tition. Most of the plays would be worthy of full
attention in a reader's theatre production or a radio
drama, not only for artful use of language, but be-
cause the lines are thoughtful and evocative, tightly
bound to the human condition. The sets for all their
brilliance remain moon to the sun. Playwrights yearn
to see their work performed, intentions only really
fulflled when an audience hears the lines, sees the
actors move, experiences the space and place of the
drama. This year, London offered collaborations that
enticed audiences deeply into the delights and dan-
gers of our human condition. Spectacles? Yes; but
most, including the comedies and the play intended
to please children got to the bone marrow or nearby.
The plays will be discussed not in the order seen, but
according in part to relative intensity and complex-
ity and in part to highlight certain similarities and
contrasts.
The Railway Children
Playwright Mike Kenny and Director Da-
mian Cruden take Edith Nesbit's 1905 story series,
The Railway Children to occupy a space psychologi-
cally and physically middling between the slapstick
humor of The Ladykillers or Noises Off, and the
wrenching sorrow of Grief or No More Shall We
Part. There was the expected and necessary happy
ending to a drama of loss and fear in the turn of the
century lead-up to World War I, presented in the
closed section of Waterloo Station that used to be the
platforms for arriving and departing Eurostar train.
The large audience sat on risers arranged on both
sides of the track with the station's double staircase
and bridge forming one end of the set. For most of
the play, platforms pulled back and forth on the track
Report from London, January, 2012
LeGrace Benson
Mike Kenny's The Railway Children, directed by Damian Cruden. Photo: TristramKenton.
40
leading into a stage set tunnel effected changes of
time and place, including the journeys of the chil-
dren sent away to the countryside after the arrest of
their father on charges of espionage. At the climax,
the absent father, falsely imprisoned as a spy, returns
vindicated in a glorious real train that rolls into the
platform.
One test of a good children's book or play is
an adult response, and this one worked. It would be
impossible to assess whether the parents and grand-
parents, or their offspring were most thrilled when
that gorgeous, steaming, big, shiny engine hooved
into view. The Olivier Award for Best Entertainment
surely centered on that stunning appearance and
J oanna Scotcher garnered the 2011 Whatsonstage
Best Set Designer award. For the English audience,
the play evoked meaning more ramifed than simple
nostalgia. Many there with grandchildren were of an
age to have been among the youngsters sent during
World War II from cities into the small towns and
villages, separated from at least one parent. Conver-
sations between grandparents and their grandchil-
dren after the play were a fascinating eavesdrop. The
real train in the imaginary world was a joy in itself,
but the return of an absent father in such a powerful
conveyance plucks deeper in the oldest muscles of
any heart.
Grief
The plainest set of the group of plays was
for Mike Leigh's Grief, staged in traditional prosce-
nium fashion in the National Theatre's Cottesloe.
(This theatre, by the way, is to undergo a restruc-
turing renovation this summer, adding some ffty
seats to increase the revenue from this popular but
unproftable venue, and at the same time creating an
even more fexible staging space.) Alison Chitty rec-
reates a space of a suburban home, still retaining the
good couches and armchairs, the crystal and silver of
genteel society. Paul Pyant's lighting subtly carries
the mood of melancholy over a way of life that have
already passed.
As is well known, Leigh's plays arise out of
situations that he presents in the most rudimentary
form and then works for weeks with actors to create
the detailed back stories of the lives of every char-
acter. Eventually a play emergeseventually. Our
theatre group was fortunate to have the playwright
discuss this process specifcally during the season
of his 2005 Two Thousand Years, also presented at
the Cottesloe. In Leigh's plays, lines emerge from
what might be called the "inhabited speech patterns"
Grief, written and directed by Mike Leigh. Photo: TristramKenton.
41
of the characters, but this is raw material. His gift,
and that of the actors he works with, is to enhance,
sharpen, highlight, and shadow these ordinary sen-
tences and cadences. Undertones and overtones of
the motivations of both individual characters and
their social dynamic carry an audience past the story
into an experience.
Alison Chitty's quotidian background and
costumes for the actions of an upper middle class
home of a family, now far less affuent than they
were, is properly correct in every detail, and prop-
erly recessive. Anything more would have intruded
on the tragedies of the back-story of war-widowed
sister, Dorothy (Lesley Manville), an older brother,
Edwin (Sam Kelly), an offce clerk so undistin-
guished that his employers spell his name wrong on
the retirement plaque he receives toward the end of
the play. And there is Dorothy's troubled daughter
Victoria (Ruby Bentall), increasingly alienated from
this "family" and especially from her rigidly man-
nered mother.
There is some relieving laughter in this
gloomy play, especially in scenes with Dorothy's
friends, the overbearing but hilarious Gertrude (Mar-
ion Bailey), and quieter but steely Muriel (Wendy
Nottingham). Edwin's one loyal friend, Hugh (David
Horovitch), regales the audience but not the players
with his dumb jokes. Dorothy Duffy plays the maid
who quits in a huff over not receiving her full wages,
her presence and then absence establishing the fam-
ily's slow fall from grace. Each evening siblings
Dorothy and Edwin toast each other with sherry,
then nostalgically sing duets of old songs popular in
their lost childhoods when Mother and Father were
still alive. Their lovely singing creates an astringent
punctuation in the descent toward dark ending, pre-
cipitated in part by Dorothy's unyielding insistence
that Victoria may not partake of the sherry until her
eighteenth birthday, less than a week away.
Because Leigh's productions come out of sixteen
weeks of exploration of individuals and their social
milieu expertly fashioned into a drama, they lead us
back into vicarious possession by those persons and
the milieu. This transaction effects our own explo-
ration of who and where we are. It is a challenge
to make a deep and all-too-common human failure
into "entertainment," but Leigh and company make
it happen, generating laughter and tears and refec-
tive thought. Chitty's setting is roomlike the living
roomsdeeply familiar to nearly everyone in the
audience, thus, like the enhanced common language
of the emerged script situates us personally inside
the unfolding tragedy.
The Ladykillers
By the time I saw Grief, I had also just
seen; thank goodness, Sean Foley's direction of Gra-
ham Linehan's adaption of the 1955 Ealing Studios
GrahamLinehan's The Ladykillers, directed by Sean Foley. Photo: TristramKenton.
42
flm, The Ladykillers. It's a killer set. Michael Taylor
transformed the Gielgud stage into a towering archi-
tectural confection with scarcely a level footing on
any of its rickety pile up of kitchen, drawing room,
stairs, bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, and garrets. A
rotation of the stage enabled a view of attempted es-
capes from the house and car chases played out with
laugh-provoking manipulations of toy cars set on
the faade like a children's game. The audience can
relax and enjoy the mayhem: there is a strict safety
inspection for every London stage production.
Remarks overheard afterwards indicated
that for many Taylor's set alone was worth the ticket.
But there was admiration too for an award-winning
cast who would be capable of carrying off this crazi-
ness in a parking lot. Marcia Warren's sweet little old
lady, "Mrs. Wilberforce" and Peter Capaldi's "Pro-
fessor Marcus" carry the plot line with J ames Fleet,
Ben Miller, Clive Rowe, and Stephen Wright as the
clueless criminals.
Collaborators
Nicholas Hytner directed J ohn Hodge's
Collaborators with Bob Crowley's set placing most
of the audience looking at or down into a ramped
set on three levels in the Cottesloe black box. I sat
two feet above the cramped bedroom of the author
Mikhail Bulgakov (Alex J ennings) and his wife
(J acqueline Defferary). Steps leading down from
that narrow platform gave on the broadest part of the
stage, nearly bare throughout most of the play except
for Bulgakov's plain desk with typewriter and a cou-
ple of chairs. This space slants up to a large closet
which served as both a dwelling and hiding place for
a peasant servant and as the dramatic entry and exit
point for J osef Stalin (Simon Russell Beale).
Beale's Stalin evoked the Stalin of Robert Service's
biography that presents more human facets of the
dictator. (However, playwright Hodge was working
with the Simon Sebag Montefore's Young Stalin he
had earlier tried to turn into a flm script.) Young
theology student J osif Vissarionovich Dzhugash-
vili's tender landscape poetry made him a rising star
in literary circles before he metamorphosed into the
murderous Stalin.
But Collaborators is no biography. It is a
venture into terrible and terrifying moral dilemmas.
Stalin's frst entrance is as Bulgakov's nightmare,
bursting forth from the closet upstage in a blaze of
light, and accompanied by diabolical creatures with
long, blood red fngers, wearing the sharp-nosed
masks of Venice carnival turned hell. Hytner's direc-
tion and J on Clark's lighting succeed in creating a
moment of felt horror that opens a portal into the
J ohn Hodge's Collaborators, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Photo: Alastair Muir.
43
dreadful consequences to come. Intellectual Bulga-
kov becomes the offcial who signs off on the deaths
of hundreds with Stalin's signature, while Stalin
cheerily taps away at a play, Young Stalin, which will
bear Bulgakov's name.
There is a celebratory moment when a
splendid crystal chandelier descends over the place
where plain table and typewriter disappear under
a white clothed dinner table set with silver, china,
and crystal worthy of the Tsars. Bulgakov's com-
rade and fellow believer in true freedom (William
Postlethwaite) leaves in disgust. He will be among
the victims of later purging. Bulgakov himself has
become a witting, albeit conficted, participant in the
murderous regime. His concession will allow him
some small degree of personal freedom, the pos-
sibility of seeing his works performed and perhaps
enjoying that bit of his life his doctor tells him is
remaining.
13
At the Olivier, a grand machine of a stage
and expert crews shifted overnight from elaborate
sets for another moral and political play, Mike
Bartlett's 13, to equally elaborate sets for Shake-
speare's comedy. Tom Scutt's design was one of
those sets that actyes, act as an unvoiced Greek
chorus. Audiences entering saw a completely dark-
ened stage with a barely discernable black cube of
about a meter (three feet) on an edge suspended in
midair. Slowly other panels appeared, LED displays
blinking snippets of stock market and political news.
These disappear and the central set for the remainder
of the play is an enormous black apartment block in
severely minimalist architecture. It can ascend and
descend, turn, open up to its interior, go totally dark
or light up cubicles in which the actors appear and
disappear, and have identical nightmares. The large
cast, directed by Thea Sharrock, each have their own
moral, religious dilemmas as well as intersecting
with all the others. Their interlacing compounds a
sense of overwhelming vulnerability in the face of
decisions that have no right answer and whose con-
sequences are unknowable.
The malaise affects everyone from the el-
derly woman who smashes a shop window during an
Occupy demonstration (to quiet cheers from some in
the graying audience), to the Tory Prime Minister,
skillfully played by Geraldine J ames, caught in a
decision to support or not support a US decision to
invade Iran. A charismatic character, J ohn (Trystan
Gravelle), returns to the relief, annoyance, and an-
Mike Bartlett's 13, directed by Thea Sharrock. Photo: Marc Brenner.
44
ger of his old friends from a place no one ever can
identify and he does not disclose. It is J ohn who
is the nexus among all the charactersenigmatic,
spiritual, perhaps a "J ohn the Baptist" as a voice
crying out in the wilderness, but fnally revealed as
fawed, ambivalent, and clueless as anyone, intoning
contentless platitudes. Stephen (Danny Webb), athe-
ist philosopher friend of the Prime Minister, spouts
academic diatribes antagonistic to J ohn's message
and to the American Protestant Christianity of the
American ambassador Dennis (Nick Sidi), his ne-
glected wife Sarah (Genevieve O'Reilly), and intel-
lectually precocious daughter, Ruby (Grace Cooper
Milton and J adie-Rose Hobson alternating).
This triangular tension of Stephen's philosophy much
like that of British evolutionary biologist Richard
Dawkins (The God Delusion 2006), Dennis's white
US American Protestant belief and J ohn's compel-
ling but vapid leadership in the
widespread contemporary search
for "the spiritual" and of spiritual
leadership, form the elastic super-
structure played out against the
rigid albeit moveable set: a black
box in every mysterious sense.
Tensions of faith and atheism,
faith in charismatic fgures versus
people who must make decisions
with consequences; those protest-
ing about everything, revealing an
inchoate underlying fearful dis-
content, are constant threats of dis-
turbances against the public peace.
The Prime Minister will
go to war as the preferred of two
horrible alternatives. Stephen will
soon die of disease, no choice in
the matter. J ohn disappears, having
got off his jail sentence by Mark
who thinks he may have been
guilty. Dennis will be overcome
by the tragedy of his beloved
daughter's murder by wife Sarah,
who believes she has committed a
moral act by cleansing the earth of
the learned, thus satanic, daughter.
At the end, there is a
whole-cast set piece, with all but
one character holding a black
cube. They give their partly de-
spairing, partly self-justifying
short speech, and walk off stage.
The last to leave is a young man
who was only a minor fgure in process of solving
a Rubik's Cube. He speaks a few words and carries
the brightly colored Rubik's Cube off-stage: puzzle
solved. The set has the last word.
The Comedy of Errors
Staging nearly overcame the words of The
Comedy of Errors. It was a joy to hear Shakespeare's
lines spoken in delicious accents from the former
colonies, but one had to strain to follow it over
Gary Yershon's Hungarian musicgood in itself,
but why here? Bunnie Christie's set with lighting
by Paule Constable and sound by Christopher Shutt
came close to being a parallel universe, perhaps ft-
ting given the twinships at the heart of the matter. A
descending real helicopter, sirens, cars, trucks, and a
babbling gaggle of shouts and vituperations intensi-
fed the clamor.
Mike Bartlett's 13, directed by Thea Sharrock. Photo: Marc Brenner.
45
Director Dominic Cooke and a strong cast
managed to assert the play. Lenny Henry, the highly
popular comedian, also a success as Othello in his
frst venture into Shakespeare, played Antipholus of
Syracuse. Lucian Msamati charmingly played his
twin servant Dromio. Chris J arman was Antipholus
of Ephesus with Daniel Poysner as the other Dromio.
Claudie Blakley was Adriana, the wife of Antipholus
of Ephesus,with Michelle Terry as his sister Luciana.
They all played broad comedy to the hilt, managing
to preserve the Bard through all the mayhem. The
brothel district scene was lights and action a stretch
too far though it did preserve the bawdiness of the
original. (On refection, I think Shakespeare might
have enjoyed this production more than I did.)
After all the mayhem and confusion of dou-
bly mistaken identities, the ending was surprisingly
tender and gentle. Elderly Egeon (J oseph Myrdell),
old father of the ducal twins, is released from prison
where he had been held as an enemy of Ephesus.
Egeon places the tale told into a speech that reverses
the sad soliloquy of his lines at the beginning of the
now resolved errors. Quiet reigned in an audience
where many were moved to tears.
It was a delight to attend Henry's Platform
Talk, which he said was his frst time at doing an
on-stage unrehearsed interview followed by an un-
predictable Q & A with the public. He claimed to
have been more worried about it than for his Shake-
speare roles. "I didn't know what was coming." He
was memorable. His responses to the interviewer
were thoughtful and at the same time spontaneous
and humorous. One could tell that this is a comic
performer who works from out of himself. He was
especially funny and respectful when he answered
questions from aspiring drama students in the audi-
ence. What a great coach he would be!
Huis Clos
Like 13 and Collaborators, Reasons to Be
Pretty, Haunted Child, and No More Shall We Part,
all lead their audiences into the bleakest landscapes
of the human experience with the narrowest of
vistas. This was painfully true for Huis Clos. De-
signer Lucy Osborne used the constricted space of
Trafalgar Studio 2 to seat the audience right on the
verge of a shabby, stifing room. The sardonic Valet
(Thomas Padden) ushers in Garcin (Will Keen), then
Ines (Michelle Fairley), and fnally Estelle (Fiona
Glascott) through the single door. Osborne's thread-
bare furniture in a dull and airless room announces
the worn-out pretension of post-war bourgeois soci-
ety. Before the actors move into the space, staging
introduces J ean-Paul Sartre's grim meditation on the
hell-trap middle-class humans create and then are
unwilling to escape. The acting was superb, espe-
WilliamShakespeare's Comedy of Errors, directed by Dominic Cooke. Photo: Nigel Norrington.
46
cially by Michelle Fairley who presented a lesbian
virago with nuances of emotion that almost elicited
sympathy for this unsympathetic character.
The choice to use Sartre's original title was
a good one. The more usual No Exit is a misleading
translation, particularly because there is an exit, sig-
nifcantly unused when fnally opened. The French
term refers to judicial discussions that take place in
camera; that is, in the closed chamber of the judge
rather than in open court. The notion of discussion
and judgment so critical to this play gets lost if the
title is translated to emphasize enclosure over the
moral discernment discourse. As staged, enclosure
was directly felt in the audience thus supporting the
anguished accusations and self-accusations of the
entrapped trio.
In Katori Hall's new play, Hurt Village,
there is a moment in which one of the children living
in the projects holds up her science experiment, a jar
full of feas. "Well, after 'bout a week the feas stop
jumpin' so high cause they know they gone bump
they head. The feas could jump out but because they
done got tired of hurtin' theyself they won't jump no
higher than the lid. Ain't nothin' holdin' them in, but
they thank [sic] so." (Quoted in Michael Schulman's
"King's Speech," The New Yorker, 19 September
2011.) In a more lavish setting, the elegant dinner
guests of Luis Buuel's 1962 flm, El ngel extermi-
nador (The Exterminating Angel), trapped behind an
invisible barrier that prevents them from leaving, de-
scend into revelations of their most grittily obscene
physical and moral habits. When the spell is broken,
they are reluctant to leave, but then they willingly
perhaps do, or perhaps do not, enter a new invisible
trap inside the church along with the priest and oth-
ers in the congregation.
Buuel's surrealistic ending yields no reso-
lution. In both Hurt Village and The Exterminating
Angel, a young girl or a woman guest know it is pos-
sible to escape. In Huis Clos, it is the set itself that
announces the potential, the door opening with no
apparent agency, though Garcin is pounding on it. It
J ean-Paul Sartre's Huis Clos, directed by Paul Hart. Photo: Simon Kane.
47
is Garcin who, after a few moments of vicious trian-
gular conversation, closes it, rendering the famous
line "Hell is other people" bitterly false.
Reasons to Be Pretty
Staging Neil LaBute's Reasons to Be Pret-
ty, award-winning Soutra Gilmour used corrugated
panels like those of container cars opened, closed
and turned to become bedroom, security wardroom
of a company, a street, a football feld sideline, and
a restaurant entrance. Entering the Almeida per-
formance space, the audience is confronted by the
forbidding panels arranged in the closed format;
this "chorus" telegraphing an unmistakable, albeit
silent, message of entrapment. The characters unfold
their boxed-in stories. After screaming tirades and
soured attempts of kiss and make up, pretty Steph
(Sin Brooke), insecure about her appearance and
severely hurt by lover Greg's (Tom Burke) reported
remark that she has "average looks," leaves him and
fnds a well-to-do man who adores her, probably
temporarily. Greg's coarse-mannered friend Kent
(Kieran Bew) constantly brags about his gorgeous
wife, Carly (Billie Piper), who, though rather plain,
believes she "has always been pretty." Ever in search
of greater amorous beauties, Kent abandons pregnant
Carly for his latest conquest. Greg and Kent come to
blows over the deceitful unfaithfulness. A bit later,
Steph, all sweetness now, shows Kent her impres-
sive engagement ring and departs. In the end, decent
but awkward Greg, alert to the beauties of literature
but purblind to those of his beloved, is wretchedly
alone. Standing in the wardroom, he closes the clas-
sic American novel he'd been reading and gives an
outcry of total desertion. The ordinary-looking re-
frigerator, the microwave, the sink, the plain table,
and chairs are silent.
Haunted Child
Bunny Christie, a top designer with a wide
range of credits and awards, created a two-story set
with an imagined attic above that is created in the
dialogue and action of J oe Penhall's Haunted Child.
A troubled boy and his troubled parents act out their
distressed lives in an ambience of budgeted dcor,
where ghostly sounds in the night and apparitions of
the missing father intensify the loneliness of Thomas
(J ack Boulter and J ude Campbell alternating) for the
absent Douglas (Ben Daniels). Sophie Okonedo as
the distraught J ulie tries to cope with a situation
that is beyond her (or probably anyone's) control. In
contrast to the hyper-active sets of The Ladykillers,
The Comedy of Errors or Sound Off, in stillness and
silence it represents the unremarkable homeface of
Neil LaBute's Reasons to be Pretty, directed by Soutra Gilmour. Photo: Keith Pattison.
48
the terrorizing external social and economic ocean
in which this family is drowning. This "haven in a
heartless world" cannot protect the father who sum-
marily left his stultifying job and his family pres-
sures to seek spiritual wisdom and order. It cannot
harbor the mother who is stretched fnancially and
emotionally to be "All Things" as deserted head of
household. It cannot shelter the child who is bullied
at school by his classmates most proximately and by
the education system in which they are all trapped.
The weird noises and apparitions turn out
to be the reality of the father, returned, hiding in the
attic, sneaking a look at this child in the night. He
leaves again to the supposed supportive comfort of
an alternative quasi-religious group, but soon he is
back, beaten and bloodied. He could not pay for his
initiation. He begs to be taken back into his fam-
ily from the deceptive hell. His son is in a kind of
limbo. His wife, upon whom all now depends, has
strength but no wisdom to match the haunting that
surrounds them and permeates through the walls of
what should have been a fortifcation. Haunted Child
joins Grief, Huis Clos, 13, and Reasons to Be Pretty
as one more intimate revelation of the malaise and
consternations afficting the so-called "developed"
world. Temperature, blood pressure, analysis of
body fuids, behavioral pathology: the patient is sick,
and it is not imaginary.
Pippin
For some audiences, the retina-attacking,
ear-splitting Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory
would be a relief from the philosophical gravity of
so many of the season's theatre offerings. Much of
the Menier Chocolate Factory theatre space served
as part of the staging. An acrobatic cast popped out
of openings, off girders, and up and down poles,
lights fashing on and off like a disco or rave party,
the actors all dancing through an improbable "spiri-
tual" history of Pippin, Son of Charlemagne. Matt
Rawle plays an archly demonic narrator contraposed
to Pippin (Harry Hepple), embarked on a jejune
search for true happiness and fulfllment, frst in war,
then in politics, sex, art, and religion. It's rather a sort
of failed crossing of Struwwelpeter with Tom Saw-
yer, without most of the humor. The performance I
attended was relieved by a delightfully funny Louise
Gold playing Pippin's worldly-wise grandmother.
The setting and the dancing were more like a parallel
event than an integral part of the play.
J oe Penhall's Haunted Child, directed by J eremy Herrin. Photo: Elliott Franks.
49
Richard II
The frenzy of Pippin was the very oppo-
site of the churchly dignity of Richard II, directed
by Donmar Warehouse's Artistic Director, Michael
Grandage. (This is Grandage's fnal season of an
outstanding tenure at Donmar.) Designer Richard
Kent created a setting strongly resembling those of
Shakespeare's time and place, excepting that the up-
per stage, the stairs to it, and the corridor beneath are
in Gothic style suitable for a castle or a church. In
fact, the architectural motifs strongly resemble those
of Richard II's revision of Westminster Hall. During
the play this restrained Gothic of the late fourteenth
century, symmetrical, and as spare and strict as the
King's ecclesiastical and governance pieties, is the
quiet and orderly counterpoint to chaos and blood-
shed of contested rule and expensive, failed military
expeditions. Instead of Pippin's fashing lights and
music, there was pervasive incense signaling the role
of religion and the medieval moral interpretation of
the Divine Right of Kings.
The audience entered the Donmar audi-
torium to see King Richard II (Eddie Redmayne)
seated upon his throne as dead silent, dead still as his
portrait in Westminster Abbey. The intensely devout
king is strictly observing the Holy Day Epiphany,
during which the faithful keep unvoiced vigil. Hav-
ing been born on Epiphany, the observance was of
special importance to this man who became king
when only ten years old. It would be that date again
when, after Richard's abdication from the throne, his
demoted earls would attempt to restore him in the
Epiphany Uprising. (By remarkable coincidence, I
saw the play on Epiphany.) The king had a reputa-
tion for sitting on his throne in prolonged silence
especially on certain holy days, especially Epiphany.
From the time theatre doors are opened for the au-
dience to be seated and long minutes before other
actors enter the stage to begin Shakespeare's opening
lines, actor Redmayne and director Grandage initiate
a physical awareness of Richard's severe religious
and moral tension that will drive the action.
Redmayne received the Critics Circle
Award for Best Shakespearean Performance for this
role, preceded by the 2010 Olivier Award for Best
Actor in a Supporting Role for his role in Red as
Mark Rothko's studio assistant (viewed last year).
The two roles witness the great range of this actor's
talent and insight. He was well-matched by a cast
comprised of Andrew Buchan, Harry Attwell, Pippa
Bennett-Warner, Stefano Braschi, Ron Cook, Daniel
WilliamShakespeare's Richard II, directed by Michael Grandage. Photo: J ohan Persson.
50
Easton, Daniel Flynn, Michael Hadley, Sean J ack-
son, Phillip J oseph, Michael Marcus, Sian Thomas,
J oseph Timms, Ben Turner, and Ashley Zhangazha.
Near-mystical restraint of set and King together with
the steady metric of the speeches was in sharp con-
trast to the disorder of duels, exiles, cabals, and mur-
ders of the other characters. The opposition brought
out a depth of the play beyond its plot. Grandage's
deliberate pacing paralleled the poetry, leaving time
and space for contemplating Shakespeare's more
profound meanings.
And No More Shall We Part
A religious and moral dilemma society dealt
with in entirely different ways before the advent of
modern medicineespecially medical caresince
the rapid advances taking place after World War II
to the present, is that of helping the greatly suffering
to depart their fate willfully and in peace. In dis-
cussing his latest play, And No More Shall We Part,
author Tom Holloway noted that we have a "wall of
silence" around such diffcult issues as euthanasia
and assisted suicide. He writes in part to open up
that wall. This play is more poignantly personal than
the larger mission, though it serves it well. The play,
he revealed to us, was response to his own mother's
dying which affected him deeply. Cathartically, he
wrote it in one day. The slow passing of his mother
afforded him the situation he exploits on stage: "We
had a chance to say to each other what we wanted,
needed to say." The entire play is the long leave-
taking conversation between Don, the husband (Bill
Paterson), and wife Pam (Dearbhla Molloy) who
has arranged to take a terminal dose of pills. They
say goodbye to each other in tenderness, anger, and
confessions: Pam resolute and frm in her determina-
tion, Don, wrestling with inevitable loss, religious
confict, and panic.
Director J ames Macdonald staged And No
More Shall We Part in the small, downstairs theatre
of the Hampstead, using a revolving stage, with
designer Hannah Clark's deliberately ordinary ar-
rangement of a bedroom and a kitchen-dining room.
On either side, stage hands, one a young man, the
other a young woman, manage the sounds, lights,
effects, and props. They work as unobtrusively as
possible, yet are peripherally noticeable. We never
meet the son and daughter of Don and Pam, though
they fgure in the drama; but the practical actions of
the male and female stagehands accidentally echoes
each reference to them. When asked about this, Hol-
loway averred that the placement of the stagehands
WilliamShakespeare's Richard II, directed by Michael Grandage. Photo: J ohan Persson.
51
was necessitated by the space they had to work with,
but the happenstance consonance was an interesting
notion he'd think about.
Holloway hopes that each person in the
audience will arrive at an individual understanding
but that also is understood to ft one way or another
into the larger issues. As for direction and acting, "I
like to have some control over interpretation, but
only minimally." Sometimes he gives a name in the
script but no lines. "I leave this up to the director and
the actors." It is no surprise, then, that Mike Leigh is
among those (including Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter,
Beckett, and Caryl Churchill) who have infuenced
his thinking. Holloway took the title itself from Aus-
tralian music star Nick Cave's album, No More Shall
we Part, with a track list that numbers, "As I Sat
Sadly By Her Side," "And No More Shall We Part,"
and "Darker With the Day" among its twelve tracks.
A psychiatrist who has served as a hospice
physician remarked that the play all rang true ac-
cording to his experiences, a comment that greatly
pleased Holloway. While he wants individuals to
have their own responses, he is also trying to pres-
ent the walled away social issues as realities to be
grasped. It seemed to work for most in the opening
night performance I saw. This was apparent during
the performance and in the solemn, often silent de-
parture of the viewers. The quality of a play is not
based on how many tears it can jerk or how many
laughs it can provoke; but in this case the plain-
ness of the setting, the familiar ordinariness of the
dialogue confronting the profoundest of all losses
moves beyond pathos to a personal experience of
existential grief. Holloway's play shifts the ground
of the public religious and political issues of the
morality and the legality of euthanasia and assisted
suicide into the heart and marrow of our short lives
together.
One Man, Two Guvnors
For our frst play of the two week session,
we were fortunate to have tickets for sold-out One
Man, Two Guvnors. Richard Bean based this slap-
stick farce on Carlo Goldoni's 1743 The Servant of
Two Masters, in turn based on commedia dell'arte
Renaissance style. Director Nicholas Hytner brings
this tradition into the moment, returning to the im-
provisational techniques of Goldoni's initial version.
Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Photo: TristramKenton.
52
Returning and embellishing: J ames Corden's Francis
Henshall connected with plants in the audience so
convincingly that most of us were fooled for min-
utes with each of these seemingly random call-ups.
It was their skill as acrobatic actors that fnally gave
it away and was yet another source of laughter. But
they were all doing a lot of improv. At one point it
really appeared that one of them had shot Corden a
line he hadn't quite imagined and he briefy broke
up on stage. But that too may have been an illu-
sion. Whatever the case, it had the house in stitches
and in admiration of the virtuosity. Besides stellar
Corden as the perennially hungry Francis, the cast
were amazing in their display of both physical and
dramatic agility. One can suppose a preparation as
rigorous as that for winning athletic teams. The cast
included Oliver Chris as Stanley Stubbers, Martyn
Ellis as Doctor, Trevor Laird as Lloyd Boateng,
Claire Lams as Pauline Clench, Fred Ridgeway
as Charlie Clench, Daniel Rigby as Alan, J emima
Rooper as Rachel Crabbe, and Suzie Toase as Dolly.
Of course there are disguises, mistaken
identities, miss-sent letters, and lots of doors in a
set consisting of push-on-push-off fats, the moving
about of which was often as amusing as the play.
Award-winning Mark Thompson has a nomination
for the Olivier Award for Best Set Design. And the
music: Grant Olding and his skiffe-band engage the
audience in renditions of Olding's songs with per-
formances that often breach the invisible border to
descend directly into the theatre space. They were
infectious in their joyous enthusiasm even when
confned strictly to the stage. The collaboration of
director, actors, musicians, designers fully realized
the redeeming graces of great farce.
Noises Off
The last play of the series was Noises Off,
a raucously funny balderdash of silliness with an
ingenious set for this play-within-a-play in three
acts; all named "Act One." In an opening scene the
director tries to drill his incompetent actors who
have just muffed a scene: "That's what it's all about,
doors and sardines. Getting the sardines on, getting
the sardines off. That's farce. That's theatre!" This
slapstick, a revival of Michael Frayn's 1982 work,
ran from December 2011 to March 2012 at the Old
Vic Theatre. This latest version, directed by Lindsay
Posner, was nominated for the Olivier Award for
Best Revival. It featured J onathan Coy (as Frederick
Fellows), J anie Dee (Belinda Blair), Robert Glenis-
ter (Lloyd Dallas), J amie Glover (Roger Trample-
main), Celia Imrie (Dotty Oakley), Karl J ohnson
(Selsdon Mowbray), Aisling Loftus recreating the
Michael Frayn's Noises Off, directed by Lindsay Posner. Photo: TristramKenton.
53
Poppy Norton-Taylor role she played in the 1982
production, Amy Nuttall (Brooke Ashton) and Paul
Ready (Tim Allgood).
The often acrobatic action required precise
timing and coordination among cast and the doors,
windows and propsthose sardines especially.
Designer Peter McKintosh created a clever architec-
ture in which the frst Act One set is a large, well-
appointed country home, the second Act One turns
it inside out to reveal the backstage secrets of both
set and cast, and the fnal Act One returns the hilari-
ously wretched cast to the original scene. The sets
are a hoot to start with and the activation of doors,
windows, phones, plates of sardines, and searches
for contact lenses by a nimble cast had audiences
giggling, chuckling, and belly-laughing through the
whole play and then out into the streets. As the fnal
play viewed in the two weeks of ffteen, it matched
the frst one, One Man Two Guvnors, as side-splitting
brackets to the trials, dilemmas and sorrows of most
of the other performances.
Jerusalem
I conclude with Jerusalem: powerful as
comedy which would be tragic were it not illumi-
nated by an intransigent and rebellious hopefulness.
Surpassing the decorous laments implicit in Grief,
Huis Clos, Reasons to Be Pretty, 13, Collaborators,
and Haunted Child, and even No More Shall We
Part, Jerusalem bellows its sermon out of a magi-
cal hippie land with real trees and chickens, real dirt
and water. Few in the audiences for this play would
want to live in a property abutting J ohnny "Rooster"
Byron's dilapidated trailer or tolerate his all night
parties and drugs. Yet this reprobate wins us; we be-
gin to sense his outrage in our gut, and his bleeding
defeat at the hands of personal and municipal bullies
is our own, recognized in the intense moment of si-
lence at the end before we put our hands together in
applause.
There is more packed into this play than
in the others, even Collaborators, even Richard II.
I found myself going back to books in my library
not recently opened: collections of old British folk
and fairy tales, William Blake. The "J erusalem" of
the title refers not only to the unoffcial "national an-
them," sung before the curtain rises by an adolescent
girl in a fairy costume, but also to Blake's Prophetic
Books, especially the epic poem Jerusalem: The
Emanation of the Giant Albion. An earlier book in
the Prophetic series, America a Prophecy, may also
have lent seasoning to J ez Butterworth's mythopoeic
J ez Butterworth's Jerusalem, directed by Ian Rickson. Photo: Simon Annand.
54
drama.
A young woman in a fairy costume sings
the familiar "J erusalem" in a wavering voice in front
of a shabby, soiled white canvas curtain painted with
the red cross of Saint George, patron of England. The
curtain rises on a scene that is part idyllic English
forestEngland's "mountains green" and "
pleasant pastures" of the Blake anthem. The forest
forms a background for a chaotic jumble of beat up
chairs and a couch, sagging tables, a refrigerator, a
drinks cooler full of booze, a smashed television set,
and various other detritus. A raucous bacchanal with
heavy metal music has blared into the early morn-
ing. It is the day the village festival celebrates Saint
George Day. This Christian feast falls either on 23
April or the frst Monday after Easter, but in any case
announces Spring, as did the pagan ancestors: longer
hours of sun, things growing again.
Set designer Ultz placed an American,
once-fashy Airstream trailer to command the stage
and center all the action. From a klaxon atop this
imported aluminum hull issue the high decibel mu-
sic and amazing noises shattering the quiet of the
overhanging forest trees. Teenage revelers scatter.
The local constabulary appends eviction notices to
the door (Sarah Moyle as Ms. Fawcett and Harvey
Robinson as Mr. Parsons).
The van is real. So are the trees. So too a
trough of water and the weedy dirt along the front
edge of the stage. Chicken wire skirts the van and
keeps the real chickens contained for most of the
play. Later there will appear a turtle no one wants
and a gold fsh in a sack of water, left as a gift by
the hapless Lee (J ohnny Flynn) who is departing for
Australia. Sounds from the distant Saint George's
Day village festival, the actuality of earth, air, fre,
water, and live animals present a disrupted and con-
ficting ecosystem. Suburban tract house expecta-
tions of tranquility enforced by law do violence to
ancient substances living and insubstantial. "And
was the holy Lamb of God" in evidence on these
unpleasant pastures now a squatter's haven? Maybe.
Camoufaged.
J ohnny "Rooster" Bryon (Mark Rylance)
emerges from the Airstream and into the disarray of
his woodland yard after having ignored the knocks
and shouts of the eviction offcers. He used to be the
biggest daredevil leaper in the festival, famous and
infamous for his past feats and his current barroom
brawls, always begun by "some other" truculent.
He is beloved by the youth, or perhaps only used,
because he freely distributes all the mood enhancers
they are prohibited from buying. His habitat is also
their retreat from home and parents, who adjure them
not to smoke, drink, do dope, or "do sex." J ohnny re-
members quite well their own youthful peccadilloes.
Some may be safer in the squatter woods than they
would be at home.
The set and perhaps even J ez Butterworth's
philosophically intricate plot just barely contain
this Rooster full of fairy tales, mysteries, horrors,
told with a bursting energy of expletives and foul
expressions. J ust to hear Rooster's stories would be
performance enough, but they are densely woven to-
gether with allusions from multiple pasts of British
literature and philosophy, and arcane folk memories.
His tallest tale is one in which he encounters a giant
who gives him a protective amulet. He shows it to
the kids and dares them to touch it. No one will. The
tall tale may be true.
Rylance's performance has been honored
and praised. It is to be seen, heard, felt in muscle
and bone as this crippled prodigy of daring hobbles
about almost balletically. He is J ohnny Rooster. Who
J ohnny Rooster is remains mysterious at the end of
the play when he is brutally beaten, perhaps defeated
by the thugs on one side and oppressive laws and
manners on the other. No, not defeated. Is this the
Giant Albion who will return to the green and pleas-
ant land to fght again "Till we have built Jerusalem/
In England's green & pleasant Land?"
An outstanding cast supported Rylance's
stunning performance. Mackenzie Crook delicately
played his faithful friend Ginger; Alan David was
the literature quoting aging Professor who acciden-
tally gets high on LSD; J ohnny Flynn was Lee, the
young man headed for Australia; Danny Kirrane
was Danny, the abattoir worker who hopes never
to leave the village. Gerard Horan was Wesley, the
pub owner pressed by his beer supplier into donning
a costume and dancing an ancient folk dance. The
bells and footwork of old Albion seem ridiculous to
all. Geraldine Hughes was Rooster's estranged wife
he almost recaptures. Barry Sloane was the thug
Troy Whitworth; Aime-Ffon Edwards was Pha-
edra, Troy's step-daughterprobably abusedwho
warbles the J erusalem anthem at the beginning of the
two acts and will appear out of the van near the end
of the play. Dissolute teens Pea and Tanya were So-
phie McShera and Charlotte Mills. Aiden Eyrick and
Mark Page (in the performance I saw) alternated in
the role of Marky, J ohnny Rooster's shy and puzzled
son.
At the end, J ohnny, bleeding from his cross-
shaped wounds, makes sure that drops of blood
transfer to Marky. It is blood that matters. J ohnny
55
Rooster has supported his profigate consumma-
tion of booze and drugs and his generous sharing of
stashes by selling pints of his rare blood type. "It's
Romany blood," he shouts at the last, tying outsid-
ers, cryptic magic, otherworldly tales of giants and
fairies, the forest remnant, with its wild and domes-
tic animal life, and Saint George to a sacrifce that is
not a defeat. He raises his voice to the heavens, not
to call upon God but upon his Giant, upon a litany
of ancient heroes, a pantheon of divinities and the
Good People. His fnal act is to start a consuming
fre.
Skillfully directed by Ian Rickson, the
remarkable Rylance and the uniformly strong cast
bring out the intensity of Butterworth's play. Did he
write a comedy? Oh, yes! Jerusalem is deep comedy
with outrageously funny language, "dirty" enough to
release the taut fears we all carry around in muscle
and bone, and gut. Yes, comedy, even though the
wrenching fnale is laced with tragedy. The narrow,
secular forces of law and order do not get their way
with either Rooster or his property. In the end, he is
still in charge of fate.
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fre!
Right now another J ohnny Rooster with another
cast is unimaginable. But Jerusalem has elaborate
internal resonances and gripping relevance to human
social constructs. It well may become a top twenty-
frst century classic.
In Conclusion
These ffteen plays displayed the splen-
did creativity and power of every aspect of current
British theatre: scripts, directing, acting, set design,
lighting design, sound, use of theatre spaces, and the
theatres themselves; all this despite severe budget
cuts of the last two years and the expectation of more
to come. Perhaps we are at apogee, especially for
technically and visually elaborate stagings. Perhaps
the ensemble is so strong, so welcome by the theatre
audiences that a suitable portion of the prosperity
enjoyed by the top international money earners can
be funneled into this necessity of human survival.
Right after sex, food, and water, and even before
shelter are music, stories, and theatre. The arts are
not optional.
The seductive pleasure of seeing ffteen
fne productions beckons past enjoyment into refec-
tion upon the didactics they enclose. The plays were
not simply "mirrors of society" but a community
conversation. Seeing so many in two weeks, it was
possible to discern networks of conversations really
occurring in real time among and between all those
who produce the shows, between the show and its
audiences, between all that and the larger, extended
community. The excellence of the work on the
London and other stages entertains society while it
establishes, modifes, tears away, and re-creates the
social contract. Some would say that in this time of
often hostile separations theatre is an obligation.
I saw evidence of thoughtfulness about this
obligation in each of the plays attended, as well as
a degree of unattended expressions arising from the
human condition unbidden, uncrafted as it is. One
Man, Two Guvnors and Noises Off succeed as much
as Richard II or Jerusalem; the astounding settings
for The Ladykillers or Comedy of Errors succeed
as well as those for Huis Clos, or Grief. Theatre is
"show" as well as "tell": the stage designs speak
as articulately as the lines of script. In this current
season the productions individually and collectively
repeat the conversationsthe show and tellof the
streets and households and centers of power. Repeat
and laser beam it back into that social body, probing
the murkiness of gathering distress and anger, the
effete global leaders who conceive great and wise
ideas at Davos but either cannot or will not lead
new directions once they are back home. Threading
through every one of these London 2012 plays is an
awareness of the helplessness of ordinary and ex-
traordinary folk in the face of the Beast With Seven
Heads whose presence is intuited, not seen. So we
arrive to be entertained and instructed. We examine
grief, moral dilemma, and foibles. We grow sober,
we cry, we laugh until we are breathless.
The towering, tottering set of Ladykillers
and its radio-controlled toy cars and trains would
not have been possible technically on stage in 1955
when the famous Ealing Studio flm appeared. Nor
probably would it have been understood. One wor-
ried about the bomb or mutually assured destruction,
but the middle class was expanding into new homes.
In the United States returning GI Joes had flled col-
lege classrooms to overfowing with men with little
awe for professors. The returning warriors rerouted
the direction of higher education and the number of
people who expected to attend college. If you had
a job with a viable company you had an assured
pension and probably health benefts. The Ladykill-
ers teetering piled-up architecture would have been
merely funny.
The set was a technical tour de force, but
that is not all. Today one might think, "earthquake,"
56
or "this old house is about to collapse," or "the old
order is crumbling." W.H. Auden wrote The Age of
Anxiety in 1947. The poet saw his whole century, es-
pecially from World War I through the Great Depres-
sion and World War II that had just ended as fraught
with angst. Distanced by wisdom from post-war
exuberance, he foreshadowed the continuance of an
undercurrent of insecurity.
William Blake had preceded with his lines
in the 1808 "J erusalem" in which asks,"was J e-
rusalem builded here/Among these dark, Satanic
mills?" The lamentation for lost harmonies is one of
those long conversations continuing through record-
ed history. In 2012, popular distress around the globe
deepens and "everyone" knows we can't go on like
this. The house, the institutions are near collapse.
Huge swathes of people are worrying over what is
happening, what may happen, and that they don't
know what to do about it. We live in the black box
of 13. The container car sets of Reasons to be Pretty
evoke memories of the residents of Assisi living in
them long after the terremoto; Haitian victims of
the goudougoudou fnally grateful to move offces,
medical units, and schools into the metal-sided cars:
homely and hot, but shelter. The antic sets of One
Man, Two Guvnors, with its sliding screen changes
of time and place or Noises Off showing frst one
face of a set, then the rickety backstage view, then
back to the frst, might have been conceivable with
clunky, labor-intensive Baroque mechanics, but
those would have carried quite other meanings.
These architectures create apprehensions an audi-
ence can physically feel while we listen to profound
or hilarious words from those who have taken on the
obligations of theatre.
GrahamLinehan's The Ladykillers, directed by Sean Foley. Photo: TristramKenton.
57
During the summer, I was lucky enough
to see Guy Cassiers's production of the ubiquitous
Tom Lanoye's Bloed en Rozen: Het Lied van Jeanne
en Gilles (Blood and Roses: The Song of Joan and
Gilles) at Toneelhuis in Antwerp where Cassiers is
artistic director. The production has subsequently
gone on the road and was awarded pride of place
in the Cour des Contes at the Avignon Festival, re-
ceiving extremely laudatory reviews. Cassiers is no
stranger to incorporating video in his live theatre
productions, but his experimentation with mixing
media broke startlingly new ground in this show,
both for him and the world.
The text of Bloed & Rozen dramatizes the
stories of both J oan of Arc and Gilles de Rais. The
well-known and oft dramatized story of J oan of
Arc's attempt to enter the political sphere, entreating
powerful men to invest her with arms, soldiers, and
military status so she might restore self-government
to France only to wind up roasting on the stake, is
revisited here. But in this version it is frst and fore-
most to the notoriously rotten de Rais that the pristine
maid makes her appeal, and it is the notorious pedo-
phile and child-murderer who clears the way to gain
her both temporal and ecclesiastical support, giving
the plot a perverse twist and presence. The Flemish
Guy and IvoTwo Directors, Two Cities, Two Intersecting Paths
David Willinger
TomLanoye's Bloed en Rozen: Het Lied van Jeanne en Gilles, directed by Guy Cassiers. Photo: Koen Broos.
58
text begins with a series of strictly cadenced couplets
reminiscent of Medieval dramas, settles into a series
of sinister, though witty exchanges, littered here and
there with indirect, ironic references to the Catholic
Church's recent pedophilia scandalsscandals from
which Flanders has not been exempt. Some of the
lines spoken by the historical character of Pierre
Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais come straight from the
mouth of the contemporary apologist Roger Vanghe-
luwe, Bishop of Bruges. The audience who attended
when I saw the production were vociferous as they
recognized them.
The actors represent not only J oan and
Gilles, but also various dignitaries such as the
aforementioned Cauchon, the Dauphin, the Queen
Mother, de la Trmoille, Monseigneur de Mal-
estroitindeed a cast list not so very different from
those of George Bernard Shaw's or J ean Anouilh's
J oan of Arc plays. These actors wear costumes that
cross-germinate the historical period with the latest
in radical Antwerp clothing design, with the creepy
addition that spare clothed arms with tiny bare hands
peeking out are eerily draped over the characters'
backs and slung around their necks. The capable
cast is led by veteran actor, J ohan Leysen, playing
Gilles with caustic gusto, dripping with leering cyni-
cism. The others are equally sober in their acting but
make no attempt to hide their personal corruption
that seems to ooze through their earth-colored cos-
tumes in which black dominates. Abke Haring plays
J oan with nave sincerity in a performance that is
not iconoclastic, but rings true; she is dressed in a
scanty bright red, sleeveless dress. And the quipe is
rounded out with the welcome addition of nine ex-
traordinarily talented singers comprising Collegium
Vocale Gent who provide complex Gregorian chants
that are tastefully distributed throughout the produc-
tion; they are watchfully present in all scenes in need
of crowds.
The most startling aspect of this produc-
tion lies neither in its text nor its acting, though both
are highly competent and strong, but its spectacle.
The stage is deceptively empty apart from a gigan-
tic screen that spans most of the entire proscenium.
More self-effacing, are smaller, human-sized, mov-
able screens that "live" downstage on either side of
the playing space, perpendicular to the curtain line.
As the play progresses, we are startled by a series of
ever more stunningly cunning uses of these screens
vis--vis the live action. The basic principle is that
the actors place themselves in groupings oriented
toward the wings, away from the audience, in front
of the smaller screens. Actual places (forests, impos-
ing castles, etc.) and abstract, colorful patterns are
projected onto those screens, but we generally can't
see them directly. The actors standing and moving in
front of the screens are captured by cameras placed
across from them in the opposing wings, and the
TomLanoye's Bloed en Rozen: Het Lied van Jeanne en Gilles, directed by Guy Cassiers. Photo: Koen Broos.
59
entire imageactors against backgroundsis then
projected on the giant coat-of-mail screen in front of
and above the live actors. It takes a while to fgure
out how Cassiers is managing this optical trick.
There is a constant juxtaposition between
the unassuming movements and groupings of so-
berly costumed live actors on a seemingly naked
stage against the lush, overpowering, and pictur-
esque flmed version simultaneously appearing on
the screen. This literally forces the audience into a
double vision between the live and the projected.
The entire spectacle, which belatedly realizes the
grandeur and scintillation of Gordon Craig's theories
of the ber-director and ber-marionette, prevents
the audience from subsiding into passivity. Together
Lanoye and Cassiers have timed the length of each
each scene shiftand along with a change of scene
a shift in imageto coincide exactly with the au-
dience's appetite for new sensation and often, new
conundrum. It is possible that if this text and act-
ing were presented without the video effects that it
would sustain interest from beginning to end, but the
inclusion of them raises the level of fascination to
the stratosphere and is that much more engaging for
the audience. The video effects coupled with the fact
that the actors are speaking into microphones often
in soft, intimist tones brings the audience in the bon-
bonnire theatre closer, treating them as and turning
them into a community, but also overwhelms them
with the Hollywood-level and cinemascope-scale
images on the screen.
The court enters in a simple, but striking
way, as the large screen rises high enough off the
ground to permit them to stride ominously and di-
rectly from upstage, from under the screen to the
furthest downstage plane. Lit from below, the small
fgures throw giant shadows onto the screen hang-
ing over their heads, lending a diabolical tone to the
proceedings. J oan, standing out from the black-clad
group in her red schmatta, makes her unpromising
caseoften on her kneesto be trusted with the
military leadership of France.
There follows a smaller colloquy between
the Dauphin and a few other dignitaries in which
Gilles argues convincingly that they should sup-
port J oan in her quest. The actors move on the bare
stage in an amorphous knot of humanity, oriented
not toward the audience but the screen. We infer,
once we fgure out the technique, that the image on
that screen, which is then re-projected on the giant
screen, is an imposing medieval castle. It seems as
though the conversation, which has the tone of a
high-level conspiracy between CEOs in a modern-
day boardroom, is going forward within that medi-
eval setting, although we also see the same fgures,
small, on a bare stage if we lower our glance. This
scene establishes the pattern wherein scenes are
played on both planes at once. There follows an
urgent scene between the Dauphin, depicted as a
grotesque, piggish brat, and the Queen, his mother,
an even more grotesque skeletal fgure reminiscent
of a Felicien Rops lithograph. They plumb the
depths of their sick past which eventually leads to
an incestuous entente that intensifes throughout the
play. The next time we see this pair, they are deep
into spooning on the big screen. This same Queen
Mother then attempts to subjects Joan to a verifca-
tion of her virginity, which she can't imagine that a
girl of J oan's age could have preserved, but which
a probing of her privates Joan fnally proves. The
Queen kneels before her and does a manual gyne-
cological examination. This obstacle to her progress
removed, J oan (small, below) ritualistically dons
her military uniform. Gilles, small also, appears and
speaks, but is magnifed on the large screen. The
two, each in military outfts with a large corona of
metal spikes attached to their backs rising up behind
their heads, seem to ride horses (whose snorting we
hear as sound effects.) J oan's and Gilles's upper bod-
ies are depicted large on the screen, moving slightly
and subtly, with a sylvan forest projected behind
them. Although we never see the mounts on which
they're perched, they nonetheless give a convincing
and astonishing rendition of two people riding on
horses in tandem in a movie. Below, all we see is the
two actors making their way vaguely and lethargi-
cally in one direction across the stage, making the
most miniscule progress in a nondescript rhythm and
style. The clash between the realism of the projected
image with the stark and bare one of the actors mov-
ing below is disconcerting and paradoxical. Can that
minimal movement of those actors on a bare stage
translate into the convincing illusion of J oan and
Gilles on horseback riding through a leafy bower?
Yet it does. Some shows are stripped of spectacle
to force the spectator's imagination to work; others
amaze by their literal translation of phenomena. This
show manages to have it both ways!
Disconcerting in a very different way is the
handling of soliloquies. The frst of these internal
scenes, rendered with expressionist distortion and
unearthly hues which reveal Gilles's twisted per-
sonal life, is achieved by flming him with cameras
on either side. The two images of halves of his face,
in blue, foat over each other and interpenetrate on
the large screen, as the spikes from the curling metal
60
fan of his collar foat as well. Doctor Caligari-like
music supports the uncanny, unsettling ambiance.
Later, the large screen proves useful to reinforce and
enable J oan's inner voice as well.
Lanoye and Cassiers bypass J oan's military
triumphs and cut directly to her trial. This consists
of Cardinal Cauchon sitting high up on a platform
atop a ladder, with J oan and the others below. In-
sinuatingly, almost seductively, he draws a confes-
sion from her, or what passes for one. Again, there
seems to be a connection being made with the recent
pedophilia scandal. Although there is no explicit
sex, the lasciviousness address of the churchman is
unmistakable.
One of the small side screens is wheeled up
to Joan who stands in profle center stage. It contains
a rear projection of undulating fre, the colors of
which may just be gleaned by the audience, as they
cast a glow on her face. It seems as if her screen im-
age was flmed through the screen and through the
fre projection, since we see her face foating through
the fre above, large. The sound of fre crackles. The
corrupt dignitaries appear above in alternation with
her, large, also, surrounded by the licking fames.
J oan, depicted white against the redness, is serene as
she contacts her beloved angelic voices.
While the story of J oan of Arc has become
familiar, even vastly over-exposed in endless it-
erations, this one justifes itself completely. It brings
back all the other versions one has ever seen, at the
same time forcing us to reposition ourselves in re-
lation to it, as it make us doubt and examine how
the strings are being pulled, both emotionally and
technically.
I rode a late afternoon train south to see
Bloed & Rozen in Antwerp, the largest northern
Belgian city, having that very morning witnessed a
dress rehearsal for Ivo Van Hove's production of De
Russen (The Russians) at Toneelgroep Amsterdam,
in the capital of the Netherlands. This show by Van
Hove, who is also Artistic Director of the company,
combined Chekhov's Ivanov with the longer Pla-
tonov. And although a great deal of text had already
been cut, it still ran six hours. The prolifc Van Hove,
who is familiar to New York audiences because of
the shows he has staged at New York Theater Work-
shop, as well as those he has imported from Holland
to the Lincoln Center Festival and BAM, has an ex-
tremely wide gamut of interests and stylistic stretch.
Those he has done in New York tend to shock audi-
ences with his radical, subversive approach, mostly
to American classics, but there was little to shock in
this highly respectful rendition of Chekhov. Indeed
the boldest aspect of the show was the combining of
Ivo Van Hove's De Russen. Photo: J an Versweyveld.
61
the two texts.
The playing space was vast and represented
in painstaking detail the roof of a contemporary
industrial building that has been converted into loft
condos. It is an urban and industrial topography alien
to the provincial estates Chekhov had in mind. But
the set has the virtue of being comprised of a wide
variety of different areas, nooks, ledges to perch on,
and plenty of upright surfaces on which to project
images. Thus, the entire space has a harmonic unity,
but keeps opening up, as corners that hadn't earlier
struck our attention successively become inhabited.
In a very real sense, though they'd always been in
plain view in the unit set, they now come to life. The
acting by the repertory company, while not brilliant
or outstanding, is workmanlike and utterly profes-
sional, akin to the level of competence one expects
from a British repertory company that has been to-
gether for a number of years. The ensemble work
is very strong, and a unifed spell is woven from
the group's iron focus on telling the story and their
unbending commitment to its circumstances. As a
consequence, the play(s) manage to remain grip-
ping over the course of many hours. It is strange at
timesand is meant to bethat characters from the
two plays inhabit the same play and sit next to each
other on the same and on intersecting sectors of the
space. All their intricate stories are thus interwoven,
but we manage to follow them nonetheless.
By and by, there are large videos projected
on the various upright surfaces, much of it cartoon-
ish and impressionistic in nature. As opposed to the
way Van Hove has used these media in past pro-
ductions, such as in Cries and Whispers, which is
coming to BAM this fall, they seem more like back-
ground material and arbitrarily added to make what
is essentially a conventional production seem more
daring; but they don't. They really don't amplify the
meaning or atmosphere either. And they seem rather
pale compared to the extremely pertinent and star-
tling impact of Cassiers's videos in Bloed & Rozen.
Still, this production is theatre on the grand scale,
and manages to catch the essence of Chekhov. What
is missing are the revolutionary touches we often get
when Van Hove takes a text apart, and reveals both
unsuspected values and shortcomings. Here, he has
compounded Chekhov by giving us two in one, and
has done so with all due respect.
What was dizzying and touching about see-
ing both these plays in one day, is that I had stumbled
Ivo Van Hove's De Russen. Photo: J an Versweyveld.
62
across both Van Hove and Cassiers thirty-one years
ago, when, as young students in theatre school, they
had gone out on their own and put on a show called
Geruchten (Rumors). Van Hove wrote and directed
and Cassiers played the lead, a mental misft, in such
a startling way that I was moved to write about it,
brimming with enthusiasm, for The Drama Review,
which translated and published the translated text,
and made sure that infuential people in the Flem-
ish theatre scene learned of its existence. Now, these
two exceptionally talented people are internation-
ally recognized as among the best, most innovative
theatre artists in the world today; they are artistic
directors of the most important theatres in Amster-
dam and Antwerp respectively and their foremost
directors, their latest masterworks running the same
day in cities four hours apart. Their careers promise
to offer many more fascinating developments in the
days and years ahead.
Bloed en Rozen, directed by Director. Photo: Koen Broos.
63
Llus Pasqual has returned to take over the
artistic directorship of the Teatre Lliure this season.
As one of the venue's co-founders in 1976, he is
part of its DNA. He's also had enough experience
of working at choice national and international
venuesas director of the Centro Dramtico Na-
cional (198389), director of the Oden-Thtre de
l'Europe (199096), the theatre program of the Ven-
ice Biennale (199596), and as a regular guest di-
rector at Milan's Piccolo Teatroto have a tangible
sense of how the Lliure fts into the wider ecology of
Europe's theatrical landscape.
But whereas his predecessor lex Rigola
ran the theatre through the "boom" years of the
mid-eighties, Pasqual is facing economically harder
times. The ajuntament (or City Council) which had
been one of the theatre's great supporters is no longer
Socialist run. Like the generalitat (Cataln Parlia- n Parlia- n Parlia-
ment), it is run by the center-right nationalist party,
Convergncia i Uni, who have made savage cuts
to culture. As a result, the Lliure has lost 614,000
euros of its total subsidy for the year and been forced
to postpone two productions from the present sea-
sonAlbert Boadella's Amadeu and Pep Bou and
Llus Pasqual's Bombollav. With cuts of ffteen per
cent in its grant from the Generalitat, twelve per cent
from the Ministry of Culture, and a further three per
cent from the City Council, cancelling productions
looks to be a standard feature of the programming
for some time to come.
Bleak times indeed, and bleak times call for
culture to take a stand and engage directly with the
state of the nation. It is not easy, however, to try and
think through how the predicament of a nation-state
might be staged when unemployment is running at
close to twenty-three per cent (the highest in the
Euro zone), a right of center Partido Popular (or
People's Party) holds a vast parliamentary majority
but no ideas for meeting the pledge to cut the coun-
try's defcit to 4.4 per cent of GDP over the next year.
The economy is shrinking and a further recession is
hovering over the draconian attempts to meet defcit
Barcelona Theatre 2012: Mismatched Couples,
Capitalism under the Scalpel, and the Ghosts of the Past
Maria M. Delgado
Peter Handke's Quitt [They Are Dying Out], directed by Llus Pasqual. Photo: Ros Ribas.
64
targets.
So it is perhaps not surprising that Llus
Pasqual has turned to a desperate play for desper-
ate times. Only it is not a contemporary work but
a piece of uncompromising political theatre from
1973, They Are Dying Out. Peter Handke's play is
presented with a new title, Quittthe name of its
central protagonist. Herman Quitt is a reworking of
the Everyman fgure refracted as a Mephistopheles
for the age of high fnance. A wealthy capitalist in-
dustrialist who controls a number of companies, one
day Quitt has an idea that will allow him to take over
all markets and destroy any rivals. He goes back on
his promise to colleagues (who become increasingly
desperate as the production progresses), murders a
shareholder, and fnally kills himself. Rules go out of
the window for Quitt; avarice and control are all that
matters. He may destroy his opposition but greed
doesn't make him happy and in the end he has to
destroy even himself. Corporate capitalism is shown
in the play to go crazy: unregulated and untempered,
it implodes with terrifying consequences.
Peter Stein presented a celebrated absurdist
production at the Schaubhne in 1974 with Bruno
Ganz as a melancholy but ferce Quitt. Fassbinder's
reading, that same year, had an effeminate, playboy
Quitt with the entire play read as an embodiment
of his state of mind. Here, Pasqual opts for a 1970s
environment with Eduard Fernndez's businessman
as a slick operatorwith shiny suits, designer track
suits, and silver or gold ties. This is a man clad in
the trappings of the capitalist dream who wears his
wealth on his sleeve. He's combative, opinionated,
stubborn, and hard-headed. He has the build of a
compact but lethal rugby player. He treats his mis-
tress and wife with contempt: they are as disposable
as his business associates. He is a man in freefall but
unable to articulate his crisisit is embodied by a
blues number he presents at the grand piano in the
play's second half, a brilliant image of a man defect-
ing his anxieties through song.
The cast are uniformly excellent. Boris
Ruiz is the wily shareholder Kilb: feverish, anxious,
ferret-like. Andreu Benito, J ordi Bosch, and Llus
Marco are each able to defne the three businessmen
that Fernndez's Quitt destroys. Benito is a cleric,
adorned with the trappings of religious iconography;
Bosch's Lutz is both smug and nervy; Marco's von
Wullnow is slightly too comfortable with himself
and what he represents. J ordi Boixaderas, with a dis-
arming Cheshire Cat-like grin, presents Quitt's but-
ler Hans as curt, loyal, and ever so slightly creepy.
Marta Marco is a chic, well-groomed mistress
with perfectly styled hair, a fxed smile, and foating
headscarveswho stands in evident comparison to
Miriam Iscla's characterization of his more homely
wife.
Paco Azorn's set faunts the vocabulary of
high fnance. Flashing screens show the fickering
and ever shifting fgures of the stock exchange. A lit
up logo Q in which Quitt seeks refuge frames him
as a tiny boy caught in a giant brand that dwarfs and
defnes him. The two pool tables in the frst half sug-
gest something of an upmarket working men's club
where Quitt and his male cronies shoot balls into the
holes with casual disdain. A punchbag at the back of
the stage allows Quitt to take out his frustrationa
frustration that takes a more desperate course in the
fnal scene of the play. In the second half of the pro-
duction, it is as if we are all out at sea with Quitt on
a cruise liner looking out into an infnite abyss. Quitt
watches the crumbling universe from a giant screen
like a Big Brother fgure. The eponymous screen
could be a PowerPoint demo or a vision of surveil-
lance. "I get the feeling my body's not following
me," Quitt states. In an attempt to follow everything
around him, he loses touch of himself. In Handke's
text Quitt kills himself by hitting his head against
a rock; here it is a swift and genuinely shocking
gunshot that follows his brutal strangling of Ruiz's
Kilb. Fernndez places his fngers in his mouth and
we hear the sound of a gunshot as the lights go out.
The meta-theatrical is a very present motif
in Pasqual's production. Fernndez's Quitt watches
from a pair of seats that look as if they have taken
from the Lliure's tiered seating racks. We are never
quite in darkness, never able to sink into anonymity.
Pasqual makes us part of this frightening and almost
absurdist worldand while some of the furnishings
and the cut of the costumes may be resolutely 1970s,
the contemporary climate is never terribly absent
from the audience's mind. There are references to
Buuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
(1972)another devastating interrogation of capi-
talism's excesses and the surreal rituals that govern
our day to day routines. Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party
(1977) also came to mind as I watched the partying
businessmen with Marta Marco's Paula Tax.
The play is bleak, terrible, and relentless.
I can understand Pasqual's reasons for staging it,
but Handke's writing always feels like too much of
a diatribe, too dryly preachy. It lacks the poetry of
Bernard-Marie Kolts, the corrosive magic and sex-
ual charge of Genet, the deftness of Martin Crimp.
Carol Lpez, the artistic director of Bar-
celona's Villarroel theatre, is a deft dramatist but
65
sometimes whimsy takes the better of her. Res no
tornar a ser com abans (Nothing Will be as Before)
is certainly more substantial than her frothy Boule-
vard, but it lacks the punch of Germanes (Sisters),
her fnest play to date.
The plot could be taken from Alan Ayck-
bourn. Andrs (Andrs Herrera) has left his wife for
Dolo (Dolo Beltrn), a musician who isn't sure if she
wants to stay with Andrs who desperately wants
a child with her. Meanwhile Andrs's colleague,
Andrew (Andrew Tarbet), and his complacent wife
Olalla (Olalla Moreno), have a toddler, Bruno, and a
relationship both believe is rock solid. Only Andrew
has a roving eye, and when he and Dolo begin an
affair both partners are forced to evaluate what they
really want.
The play has an evident debt to classical
farce with a husband knowing his wife has a lover
but not knowing it is his best friend. This obviously
leads to some priceless moments of humor (and em-
barrassment) as with Dolo trying to leave the house
for a rendezvous with Andrew when Andrs has pre-
pared a romantic evening with champagne and a new
DVD of The Wire. Dolo Beltrn is excellent as the
restless musician who wants something dangerous
to excite her as she tires of life with the dependable,
boyish Andrs. Andrs Herrera has an expert sense
of comic timing and an ingratiating air of innocence.
We root for Dolo and Andrs and will them to stay
together.
This isn't the case with the second couple,
Andrew and Olalla. Andrew Tarbet appears exces-
sively vain and preening, with an arrogance matched
only by the high-handedness of his waspish wife
the "oh so smug," "why can't everyone be as lucky as
me?" Olalla Moreno.
Lpez juggles scenes with the couplesin
different confgurationswith projections showing
the four of them in therapy. Confessional mono-
logues to the camera on a large screen show each
of the four characters flmed individually as well
as with their respective partner. The therapy scenes
are an effective way of presenting exposition mate-
rial on how they met and what has led them to seek
therapy, and often present some telling moments of
humoras when Andrs and Dolo are asked about
the last time they had sex.
Cube.bz's set presents two domestic spaces:
a dining table and bedroom where Andrew and Olal-
la live and a living room and bathroom that func-
tions as Andrs and Dolo's quarters. There is spill-
age across the different spaces: Dolo and Andrew
enjoying secret rendezvous in the bathroom and
bedroom; Dolo and Olalla having a girly chat on the
Res no tornar a ser com abans (Nothing Will be as Before), directed and written by Carol Lpez. Photo: David Ruano.
66
sofa. There's a particularly good scene when Andrew
and Dolo have oral sex as Andrs and Olalla hover
in the foreground during a dinner date and another
towards the end of the piece as Andrew and Andrs
bond over gaming on the PS3 console.
As with Lpez's previous works, the
dialogue moves effortlessly between Catalan and
Spanish with Andrew resorting to Englishhis na-
tive tongueat certain key instants. The play wryly
observes the middle class mores of a late thirty-
something generation hooked on American televi-
sion drama. The judiciously dispersed musical mo-
ments work well in embodying a mood or a shift in
dynamics. Blossom Dearie's "Plus je t'embrasse" is
performed as they lay the table and prepare to share
a meal, the characters singing along to the song on
the record player in Dolo and Andrs's living room.
It is a moment of elation as Dolo and Andrs enjoy
the frst fings of lust. "Stormy Weather" comes later
in the production as Dolo tries to leave for a meeting
with Andrew.
Lpez has an ear for colloquial dialogue
and the play is as light and easy to digest as a perfect
souff. Developed through improvisations, it is en-
joyable enough on its own terms but it is also wafer
thin. It lacks the emotional resonance of Pinter's Be-
trayal, which negotiates similar terrain, but is nev-
ertheless worth seeing for Beltrn and Herrera's evi-
dent onstage chemistry and appealing performances.
The writer and actor Ivn Morales has pre-
sented a gem of a show at the Espai Brossa's new-
est venue, La Secaa former factory right in the
middle of the city's hip Borne district. S de un lugar
(I Know of a Place), takes its name from a song by
the band Triana, from the record El Patio, released in
1975. It is an emblematic song for Sim (Xavi Sez),
a thirty-something screenwriter who is hurtling to-
wards an emotional crisis as the play begins. He is
visited at regular intervals by his ex-girlfriend Br
(Anna Alarcn)the chalk to his cheese. Whereas
Sim favors meditation and green tea, Br likes to
hit the townher visits often come in the aftermath
of a heavy night of partying. Br is restless and
manic with a new boyfriend (or girlfriend) in tow
at each of their encounters. She is completing a dis-
sertation to fnish her degree and working at her par-
ents' shop to make ends meet. Whereas Sim barely
leaves his fat, Br recounts tales of travels to Berlin
and Nepal with the German actress with whom she
has an affair. Br is always runningfrom Barce-
lona to Berlin; from her actress girlfriend Anita to
her new boyfriend Vicente, a DJ come lawyer with
S de un lugar (I Know of a Place), written and directed by Ivn Morales. Photo: Courtesy of La Seca.
67
a large apartment he's inherited from a grandparent;
from the cloying Vicente to another ex, Aleix.
Br and Sim have a pastand it has
created a bond that leads Br to describe them as
companions, practically family. Br cajoles and
encourages him, "you've got a gift" she tells him in
scene 3, one of a number of smatterings of English
gleaned from movies and popular culture that pepper
her dialogue. She nevertheless worries about the ever
more reclusive Sim. Sim, however, has a Hindu
neighbor, Shahrukh, who runs errands for him. One
of Morales's inspired touches is having the role of
Shahrukh played by an audience memberthe ran-
dom spectator who sits in a particular chair in Sim's
living space. On the night I saw the performance, it
was an elderly gentleman, as far removed physically
from the Hundu Shahrukh as it is perhaps possible
to get. It is a credit to Morales's production that we
never doubt that this audience member is Shahrukh.
The conceit is accepted and respected. This is a play
where ridicule never comes into the equation.
The production's compelling power comes
from the space in which it is performed: a long
rehearsal room conceived as a studio fat with a
kitchen in one corner and a sofa in the center. The
audience are scattered through the space, part of the
living area inhabited by Sim. There is no attempt
by Sez and Alarcn to pretend that they are alone.
The audience are asked to move a hand or shift along
to another chair by the actors. But it is all done as if
it were the most natural thing in the world. We are
made to feel part of this world and we will them to
fnd a way to stay friends. And so when Br turns
up in scene 6 with a bottle of tequila and both be-
gin to down shots of the beverage, tongues loosen
and confessions spill out. Sim seems disillusioned
that his birthday gift to Bre of Triana's El Patio
didn't make an impression, unaware of the fact that
Shahrukh bought the wrong recordfamenco fu-
sion meets children's songs by a certain Triana Pura.
Only when Bre brings him Triana's El Patio as a
gift does he realize what's happened. The play ends
with a shared moment of tenderness and together-
ness as the couple listens to the song on Sim's sofa.
The production impresses for a series of
reasons. Firstly, there is the sense of intimacy gener-
ated by having the actors so close by. They sit next to
us, we hear their breathing, see and smell their sweat,
feel the steam from the kettle when it boils behind
us. The piece feels immediate and of the present.
Br talks of going to a demonstration in the play's
fnal scene; the sense of despair in the air is palpable
and shared. Secondly, the dialogue is crisp and ut-
terly credible. Morales knows how to craft smart,
witty conversations that feel highly resonant. The
language never feels forced or pretentious. There is
something of the air of J ohn Cassavetes's Shadows
(1959) about the production. A poster of Gena Row-
lands and Seymour Cassel in Minnie and Moskowitz
(1971) and a photograph of a laughing Cassavetes
alongside Peter Falk and Ben Gazzarra from Hus-
bands (1970) are part of the dcor in Sim's home.
Morales creates a theatrical language that may evoke
the wordplay of Eric Rohmer but is perhaps more
indebted to the cinma vrit of Cassavetes where
spontaneity and edginessor at least the illusion of
itpredominate.
Alarcn is terrifc as the lean, jumpy Br,
whose animated state appears fuelled by a cocktail
of drugs and alcohol. Always looking for a way
out of the predicament in which she fnds herself,
Alarcn's performance ensures that Br's vulner-
ability and her optimism fnd a productive balance.
Sez's Sim is the yin to her yangtrying to "fnd"
himself through meditative yoga, green tea, fasting,
and reclusion. There's a palpable chemistry here be-
tween the performers but it is a chemistry that can't
be reduced to simple lust or sexual attraction. Mar-
cos Ordez, of the leading Spanish daily El Pas,
spoke in his review of a sensation watching the play
in one of Buenos Aires's emblematic fringe venues,
El Camarn de las Musas or Timbre 4. Morales, as
both author and director, succeeds in bringing more
than a spirit of Buenos Aires's insistence that theatre
directly relates to the world beyond the performance
venue to this production. This is a play that speaks to
the desperation of a generation of young people left
with few hopes in a climate where youth unemploy-
ment is dangerously close to ffty per cent. It is also
about the thingsfriends, music, hopes, dreams,
memoriesthat sustain us at such times.
Mismatched couples are also the order
of the day in El tipo de la tumba de al lado (The
Guy from the Grave Next Door), an adaptation of
Katarina Mazetti's novel by Alain Gamas, presented
by J osep Maria Pou at the Goya theatre. It's a single
premise play: a late thirty-something widow visiting
her husband's grave begins to notice the guy visit-
ing his mother's grave close by. They are chalk and
cheese. She's a bookish librarian; he's a farmer with
interests in cows and boosting milk production. She
quotes Lacan; he thinks Lacan is a type of bacon.
He wants a woman who knows how to dress up and
likes to put on a pair of heels and a bit of lipstick
before going out. She wants someone to go to the
opera with. It is effectively a reworking of the odd
68
couple as they discover a mutual attraction, embark
on an affair, and each try to mould the other into
their "ideal" partner.
Ana Garay provides an undulating set that
suggests the eponymous hill from Robert Wise's 1965
flm of The Sound of Music. Two wooden benches
are nimbly used to suggest a range of settings from a
dining room to a library. Maribel Verd is effectively
cast against type as the politically correct (but sexu-
ally obsessed) vegetarian librarian whose biological
clock is ticking away. Her descriptions of Pablo's
house (adorned with his late mother's needlepoint)
are witheringly funny. Antonio Molero is credible as
the no-nonsense Pablo who tries to impress Laura by
showing her pictures of his prized cow. His bemuse-
ment at Laura's minimalist white fat also pokes fun
at middle class fashions.
The production is slickly staged by J osep
Maria Pou. He keeps the pace brisk with crisp scene
changes and confessionals to the audience that en-
sure complicity. It's a piece that has more than a
little in common with Neil Simon's The Odd Couple.
The empty stage is dominated by a mutating, almost
magical sky, suggesting a world beyond the rainbow
where dreams can indeed come true. The play is on
the leaden side with a number of revelations that
come as no surprisePablo, we discover, was an
A-grade student who was forced to leave school to
run his family farm, Laura's husband was perhaps a
little too earnest for his own good and not her soul
mate as we are frst led to believe. The play has to
carry an audience with it and Pou realizes this, creat-
ing a clean, no-nonsense production that prioritizes
simple, old-fashioned storytelling.
Alfredo Sanzol is back in Barcelona. I re-
viewed Delicades (Delicate Women) when it was
frst seen in the city at the Grec Festival in 2010
[WES 21.1, Winter 2011] and it is highly deserving of
a second outing in the city, playing at the Poliorama
for a three-month run as part of an extensive tour of
Spain. Sanzol's eighteen vignettes resemble a tasty
tapas menu: tiny morsels of digestible theatrical fare.
Set largely in the 1930s and 1940s with a few select
scenarios occurring in the present, the play offers
a charming but politically incisive homage to the
generation of his grandparents who lived through
the horrors of the Civil War and its aftermath. Its
Chekhovian tone belies sharp social observation and
Katarina Mazetti's El tipo de la tumba de al lado (The Guy from the Grave Next Door), adapted by Alain Gamas,
directed by J osep Maria Pou. Photo: Paco Amate.
69
a willingness to think through a model for political
theatre that evades easy political rhetoric or simplis-
tic polarized positions.
Sanzol's latest play, En la luna (On the
Moon) which I frst saw in Madrid at the Teatro de
la Abada in December 2011, is a co-production with
Teatre Lliure and his most incisive piece of writing,
a brave and beautiful play about historical memory,
the legacy of Francoism and how we make sense of
a past rewritten by highly partisan political parties.
Again, Sanzol opts for simplicity and an economy
of style, both in his writing and in his sparse, fuid
production. Like Delicades, En la luna is a play
structured as a series of short vignettes rather than
in a linear, chronological mode. It is a piece based
on Sanzol's own memories of growing up in the af-
termath of the Franco era, althoughbar the fnal
sceneit can't be judged autobiographical. Sanzol
was born in 1972 as Francoism was in its fnal
throes, and the play's tone reminded me a little of the
child's view of the world presented in Victor Erice's
El esperit de la Colmena (Spirit of the Beehive,
1973) and Carlos Saura's Cra Cuervos (Raise Ra-
vens, 1975). The episodic scenes, set in the period
between 1975 and 1985, move from social realism
to semi-absurdist encounters and parables.
The powerful opening scene provides a
potent example of the former as an artist, Garrido,
who designed a plan sphere for Franco but was never
fnancially rewarded for the job, is asked to act as a
pallbearer at the late dictator's funeral, much to the
irritation of his wife who has similar tales of Franco's
wife, Carmen Polo, requesting valuable antiques that
she never paid for. The couple's attempts to settle the
outstanding debts with Franco's head of household,
Colonel Snchez, meet frst with platitudes and
then indignation. As Garrido's wife wryly observes,
Franco may be dead but Franco-ism is all too alive
and kicking.
Indeed, the rest of the play sets out to
expose the traces of a thirty-six-year dictatorship
that remain in the national psyche. Garrido's wife
screams out that democracy will bring justice, but
these comments ring hollow in a society that has
just placed the human rights judge, Baltasar Garzn
(who has attempted to bring those responsible for the
human rights' crimes of the Civil War and Franco era
to account) on trial in what looks like a nasty case of
trying to forcefully gag someone who won't buy into
the pact of silence that prevailed in the aftermath of
Franco's death and still remains a force in Spanish
politics.
En la luna (On the Moon), written and directed by Alfredo Sanzol. Photo: Ros Ribas.
70
Sanzol's ffteen scenes present stories of
the Civil War's losersas with scene 2 in which a
woman too poor to buy herself a new coat, thinks she
should have moved to France like so many political
and economic refugees during the Franco era, and
scene 11 with tale of two warring brothers, them-
selves an image of a divided nation. Secrets abound.
In scene 3, a woman meets the sister of her new boy-
friend only to discover for the frst time that he was
once a priest. In scene 7 a precocious girl realizes
that her father is having an affair with the mother of
the young boy with whom she is playing. Corruption
and deception remain palpable modes of operation.
Scene 10 shows a woman admitting to authoring the
erotic fction that her husband clandestinely reads
in his secret stash of porn magazines. In scene 4, a
policeman comes to interrogate the witness that saw
him commit a bank heist. The man, no doubt recall-
ing the horrors of the Francoist secret police, is terri-
bly afraid of what might happen to him. Democracy
in Spain saw its own dirty war with underhand po-
lice methods exposed in the dealings of the infamous
GAL case, where death squads worked to annihilate
Basque nationalist activists and members of ETA in
the period between 1983 and 1987.
This is a play that isn't afraid to touch on
such taboo subjects. In the play's most resonant
and moving scene, two sisters search for the grave
of their missing parents, brutally killed during the
Civil War. Surely, one sister and her husband note,
"before 1990 there won't be a single mass grave left
in Spain I don't think they'll host the Olympics
with the ditches full of corpses." The irony cannot
be escaped. With 100,000 bodies thought to still lie
in the mass graves that litter the nation, the comment
is a telling indictment of a nation unable to come to
terms with its own atrocities.
The play's scenes provide observations on
how easy it was for the wolves to take on sheep's
clothing and be allowed into the brave new world
supposedly initiated by the transition to democra-
cyas with the retelling of the three little pigs fairy
tale in scene 6. The relationship of how the past is
preserved is also evident in the tale of a fanblow-
ing away the cobwebs of an infantilization symbol-
ized by the pram that Man 1 wants to sell. Scene
8 also tells of stunted lives, a sulky teenager trying
to make sense of a world where her mother offers a
malevolent presence, only evident in the scene's fnal
moments as the attempted coup d'etat of 23 Febru-
ary 1981 demonstrates the community's true colors.
On the Moon also captures the euphoria of
the transition to democracya time of great change
for Spain in so many ways. In scene 12, two pro-
gres (progressive) sisters horrify their conservative
mother by heading out to a demonstration, refus-
ing to take their grandfather's gun as protection. As
their mother deprecatingly observes, the high heels
they insist on wearing will offer little protection as
they totter to escape the police. The daughters may
want to join the "democratic" club but the institu-
tional structures that nurture them are shown to be
deeply conformist. This is a country that wanted to
believe anything was possibleshown in scene 9 as
a woman is given an elixir that will cure her cancer.
The legacy of the past, however, often emerges when
least expected.
Alejandro Andjar's set evokes a lu-
narscape that owes much to Lars von Trier's images
of the planet Melancholia. Props are minimal. Plates
and glasses for the birthday party of scene 8; a gi-
ant antique fan in scene 5; an oversized lollypop in
scene 2. Dcor is largely written on and through the
bodies of the six performers who embody a series
of characters across a broad age range. Perhaps the
title, On the Moon, refers to the perspective of the
present, allowing us to look back at the past as if it
were another planet.
All the performers are outstanding, mov-
ing from character to character with the simplest
of costume changes, a shift of the shoulders, a rais-
ing of the eyebrows, a different posture. The acting
never feels forced or knowing. Two of the actors
(J uan Codina and Luca Quintana) are previous col-
laborators of Sanzol's, four more (Palmina Ferrer,
Nuria Menca, Luis Moreno, and J ess Noguero)
may be "new" to this writer-director's work but they
integrate effortlessly to create a wonderfully under-
stated aesthetic. It seems churlish to single out any
of the sextet, rather it is the collective performance
that will remain with me: a vision of the ensemble's
power to move beyond age-specifc roles and a close
correlation between actor and character, On the
Moon is playful, timely, and a corrosive recognition
of theatre's role as a repository of cultural memory.
71
Frank Castorf signals his latest deconstruc-
tion of a classic by putting after his (and Dumas
fls's) title La Dame aux Camlias the words " partir
de (based on) the novel by Alexandre Dumas fls,
The Mission by Heiner Mller, and The Story of the
Eye by Georges Bataille." The third component here,
Bataille's most notorious piece of pornography la
de Sade, fgures little in the production, which, for
the most part, is concerned with Dumas fls's social
melodrama and Mller's brutal satire on revolution- ller's brutal satire on revolution- ller's brutal satire on revolution-
ary idealism. As usual with Castorf, the production
is marked by superb technical work, provided in
this case by the Odon's excellent resident quipe
technique: set design by Aleksandar Denir, lighting
by Deni and Eric Argis, video by Franois Gestin,
sound by Dominique Ehret, and photographic mate-
rial, Alain Fontenay. Adrianna Braga designed the
superb costumes. Besides its state-of-the-art techni-
cal support, La Dame aux Camlias is saturated with
popular culture and references to world politics that
we have also learned to expect from Castorf, along
with a thoroughly chaotic, often frenetic action. Ac-
cording to the program notes, the word Castorf used
most often in directing the actors (through a French
translator) was chaotisch. There were also, typically,
considerable amounts of physical and sexual vio-
lence and nudity, and a good bit of scatology.
The curtain opened on a technically marvel-
ous set divided into two playing areas, high and low,
joined on stage right by a winding staircase. Above,
stage left, a typical Parisian garret sous les toits,
but here open to the skies, contained a kind of cage
which housed the consumptive Marguerite Gautier
(J eanne Balibar), breathing wheezily, and three
other courtesans (Anabel Lpez, Ruth Rosenfeld,
Claire Sermonne). It has snowed for three days, so
Frank Castorf's La Dame aux Camlias at the Odon,
Paris, January 7- February 4, 2012
Joan Templeton
Alexandra Dumas fls's La Dame aux Camlias, directed by Frank Castorf. Photo: Courtesy of Odon.
72
Marguerite has been unable to contact Armand. The
women cluck like chickens and hover around each
other, comforting Marguerite. In juxtaposition to this
confned, supportive feminine world "on high" is the
downstairs area of two men, a cluttered, cheesy-
looking living room/kitchen in which Armand (J ean-
Damien Barbin) and Antoine (Vladislav Galard) are
noisily and frantically cooking on a 1960s era stove.
One of them eats from the dish and vomits. A woman
descends the stairs to the kitchen to retrieve plates
of food which she takes upstairs. The women ex-
hibit lesbian affection for each other, defecate in the
dishes, and Marguerite mimes her death. The women
exit and stagehands fll the cage with actual cluck-
ing hens. Downstairs, Marguerite's body is brought
in and laid on a couch, after which Antoine and one
of the women throw it on to the foor. Suddenly, the
action is interrupted as the whole stage revolves and
a gigantic blinking globe descends from the fies,
sporting a banner marked "Mundi-Anus Global
Network" and presenting a huge color photograph
of Berlusconi and Gaddaf embracing. The globe
appears periodically throughout the performance;
in one appearance, the Berlusconi-Gaddaf couple
is replaced by Hitler and Franco in a newsreel shot,
with the sign "Europe sans Frontires," the motto
for the current European Union, superimposed on it,
which, not surprisingly, received a huge laugh. The
global network's appearance is accompanied down-
stairs by a neon-lit night club set in which an actor
sings the saccharine "Be Yourself" (in English with
an American accent), the frst of the musical inter-
ludes that punctuate the action throughout. Then, the
stage revolves, and the plot continues: downstairs, at
the side of Marguerite's coffn, Armand attempts to
embrace one of the women, who rebuffs him, and he
then removes Marguerite's plastic-wrapped corpse.
The woman leaves announcing that she is going
home to read The Genealogy of Morals. Armand
takes off the plastic wrap and puts Marguerite's na-
ked body in a chair. Then, in a reprise of the frst
scene, the two men cook, as Armand describes in
detail the physical horrors of Marguerite's rotting
corpse. Aided by Antoine, Armand takes off his
clothes, covers his private parts, and cries "Mama!"
before exiting to return almost immediately in
grandmother drag to watch one of the women take
a shower (an obvious reference to Hitchcock's "Psy-
cho"). Then the stage revolves, the "Mundi-Anus
Global Network" appears again, and we are treated
to a second night club number, two excellent dancers
performing a tango to the 1950s American popular
hit "Autumn Leaves." Armand then crashes through
a box offce, which has been added to the set, into
a loge, where we overhear a sexual conversation in
Italian (subtitled in Russian) between Armand and a
woman, who turns out to be Marguerite. The meta-
theatrical component of the loge, the broad physical
comedy, the heavy satire, the nudity, the emphasis
on repugnant physical details, the man in drag, the
references to contemporary popular cultureall of
this transported me back to the 1970s in New York
and J ohn Vaccaro's "Theatre of the Ridiculous (a
comparison that Castorf might not appreciate).
After the frst intermission in the three and a
half hour performance, the production is dominated
by flm and video. The stage itself has been trans-
formed into a flm studio; above, the garret is now
a workroom flled with cameras and other technical
equipment, and below is a screen on which the flms
and videos are projected. The frst video is a "bed-
room scene" of the naked Armand and (a very preg-
nant) Marguerite. The dialog comes word for word
from Dumas fls's novel, from the famous scene in
which the lovers declare their undying love with the
repeated refrain, "Je vous aime." Dumas fls's text
reset in a contemporary context, with post-coital,
naked lovers, including a pregnant Marguerite, recit-
ing the old, romantic words, and reciting them in a
flm, is a cultural tour de force which rescues Du-
mas fls's romanticism from the nineteenth century
dust bin. This is Castorf at his ingenious best, de-
constructing a classic to reconstruct it for our time.
But, as to be expected, this is not his fnal word on
the subject. The love scene is interrupted by Heiner
Mller's The Mission as a woman enters to merci-
lessly and tediously harangue Armand, Marguerite,
and the other characters (who have now entered the
bedroom) on the necessity of a world revolution. She
and the other characters then "walk out of" the flm
onto the stage (a technical wonder) and disappear.
Armand and Marguerite go to sleep, and a decidedly
anti-romantic deconstruction of the preceding love
scene takes place: Armand snores heavily, and, upon
awakening, he and Marguerite quarrel violently, af-
ter which they make love.
The interesting thing here is that Castorf's
second deconstruction of the love scene does not
cancel out his frst. And this leads to an important
critical point. One might suppose, initially, that Cas-
torf's choice to juxtapose Dumas fls's romantic nov-
el with Mller's sardonic, even cynical play about
the failure of revolutionary ideals was to suggest
that romantic love, like political revolution, was illu-
sory (a too broad, uninteresting comparison to begin
with). But Castorf's two-sided view of the relation
73
between Marguerite and Armand, and, by extension,
romantic love, problematizes Mller's relentlessly
nihilistic presence. The thread that would tie the
two works together is missing. In the next scene,
after the night club interval of a woman singing the
American song, "St. James Infrmary," a lament for
a dead lover that echoes the story of Armand and
Marguerite, The Mission reappears in a video in
which a naked woman covered in blood addresses
a small boy (her son?) and Armand on the necessity
of the revolution. Armand and Marguerite then read
aloud their old love letters to each other (from the
novel). What, if anything, is one supposed to make
of the confrontation of revolutionary political vio-
lence and deep, personal commitment? To confuse
the issue further, during the entire scene, on another
screen behind the frst, the visual track of a black-
and-white documentary flm on Inca culture runs
silently, for what seems like an eternity. (Mller has
stressed the importance to him of his trip to the Inca
ruins in Mexico, but beyond this, the purpose of the
documentary in Castorf's production is unclear.) A
woman wearing a death's head mask, from the docu-
mentary, enters the video of Armand and Marguerite
to put the mask on Marguerite. Armand then puts her
body into a large trash can (perhaps a reference to
Beckett), rolls it around, and then departs. Another
live entertainment follows as the woman with the
death's head and another woman hilariously parody
Armand's preceding action by singing the Dusty
Springfeld popular hit, "You Don't Have to Love
Me, J ust Be Close at Hand."
After the second intermission, two and a
half hours into the production (half the audience had
now disappeared the night I saw it), flm and video
completely dominate. The frst, very long video
shows close-ups of the actors "hanging out" in what
looks like an underground bunker. They eat, smoke
pot, urinate in trash cans, and smile enigmatically
at each other. The scene may be meant as an image
of naive social collectivity, but, as often in the pro-
duction, it is impossible to judge the tone. Behind
the video on another screen runs a newsreel of the
Romanian revolution of 1989, subtitled in French,
while live, at stage center, an actor yells out revo-
lutionary slogans. A silent, extremely slow-moving
La Dame aux Camlias. Photo: Courtesy of Odon.
74
documentary which might be called "A Matador
Prepares for the Ring" follows the newsreel. This, in
turn, is followed by a succession of images in a flm
montage, which owes much to The Mission, of vari-
ous wars and revolts, including Napoleon in uniform,
with the superimposed text "Napoleon turned France
into a barracks and Europe into a battlefeld," and
depictions of the eighteenth to nineteenth century
Haitian slave revolt, with the message, "We haven't
had the last of slavery; there are different forms of it
that we don't yet know," the long series ends with the
repeated proclamation "Putain de (the whore of) lib-
ert, putain d'galit, putain de fraternit." Live ac- , putain d'galit, putain de fraternit." Live ac- , putain d'galit, putain de fraternit." Live ac- galit, putain de fraternit." Live ac- galit, putain de fraternit." Live ac- , putain de fraternit." Live ac- , putain de fraternit." Live ac- ." Live ac- ." Live ac-
tion follows, in which a woman proclaims "Treason!
Treason!" as Armand ritually washes her feet, then
her body, to the music of "The International." The
tone of this action does not even hint at parody and
seems a curious contrast to the preceding repetitive
images of and messages about the evils of Western
civilization. A recording of French pop singer Mi-
chel Sardou's "J 'tais un bateau," in which the ocean
liner "The France" complains of being abandoned by
her country to end up as a cruise ship in California,
blasts through the theatre. Clearly, the ship and its
destiny are a metonymy for the Americanization of
France (and Europe). We now see a new Romanian
newsreel; this time, the populace is jubilantly cel-
ebrating the fall of Ceausescu. The last scene of the
production, the fnal live performance in the night-
club, is composed of a lavishly costumed Las Vegas
showgirl dancing an exuberant mambo. Is this the
ultimate fruit of the Romanian revolution?
The frst part of Castorf's productionsur-
prising, intelligent, amusingwas by far the most
successful of the three "acts," but even it had its lon-
geurs. The third act was message-ridden, and since
the messages were offered up literally and directly,
rather than springing from any dramatic action, they
amounted, in the end, to slogans. Whether this rep-
resents a new, more politically radicalized Castorf
remains to be seen. But if the too-long, often repeti-
tive production was sometimes tedious, the set was
spectacular, the action was innovative throughout in
its juxtaposition of live actors with flm and video,
the musical "numbers" were all wonderfully done,
and the "Anus-Mundi Global Network" was simply
brilliant. Mainly, the production was a fne example
of the teamwork of a daring, no-holds-barred post-
modern director and the fne actors and technical
wizards of a richly subsidized national theatre.
75
Paris has long been famous for its
Boulevard comedies, and the spring of 2012 was no
exception. During my week there, just before Easter,
I saw three excellent pieces that succeeded in mak-
ing their audiences laugh heartily: Les 39 marches
(The 39 Steps), winner of the 2010 Molire Prize for
best comedy and adaptation; Th la menthe ou t'es
citron ? (Tea with Mint or Are You a Nut?), win-
ner of the 2011 Molire for best comedy; and Les
Conjoints (Couples). All were playing to full or al-
most full houses.
The 39 Steps is well known in the US. The
stage play by Patrick Barlow opened in London in
2006 and reached New York City in 2008. In London
it received the Olivier Award for best comedy and
in the U.S., directed by Maria Aitken; it won Tony
and Drama Desk Awards. It opened in Paris in 2009.
Inspired by a 1915 Sherlock Holmes-style British
novel by J ohn Buchan, it became one of Alfred
Hitchcock's earliest movies (1935). In the from page
to screen to stage version, the Broadway smash
comedy in 2010-11 was the most staged play across
the country in playhouses belonging to the Theatre
Communications Group. Its success here, as in Paris,
continued into the current season.
The 39 Steps as a stage play is not a faithful
transformation of the Hitchcock movie despite keep-
ing the dialogue almost verbatim because the tone,
values, imagery, and rhythm have been changed.
Rather than a thriller like the flm, it is a madcap
comedy, and audiences love it. In Paris it ran through
the 2010-11 season, reaching 450 performances, and
then was brought back in September 2011. It was
still going strong when I saw it at the Saturday mati-
nee on 31 March at the 335-seat Thtre Bruyre. A
Spanish friend, who decided to spend her pre-Easter
vacation in Paris, attended four play productions
with me; she enthusiastically declared The 39 Steps
to be the best of that group.
The adaptation by Grald Sibleyras is di-
rected by Eric Mtayer, who also plays seventy of
almost 150 characters. J ean-Philippe Beche portrays
another seventy. Christophe Laubion, in the lead
role of Richard Hannay, is the only member of the
cast to create a single character. All three men, who
have been in the production since its premiere, have
extensive stage, screen, and television credits. The
one woman cast member, who has three roles, has
been played by different actors over time: Andra
Bescond, Herrade von Meier and, by spring 2012,
Laura Presgurvic. I had previously seen Presgurvic,
a relative newcomer to the French stage, in J aime
Parisians Love to Laugh
Phyllis Zatlin
Patrick Barlow's The 39 Steps, directed by Eric Metayer. Photo: Lot.
76
Salom's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon [see WES 20.2,
Spring 2008]. She obviously has fun handling all of
her roles and, after being shot, takes particular de-
light in her comic, leg-twitching death on Hannay's
lap.
Rather than one character in multiple dis-
guises, as in the novel or flm, in the play the four-
member cast takes on multiple roles, including a
male actor who plays female roles. Such doubling
is facilitated by rapid costume changes, particularly
caps and wigs. All four actors performed impeccably,
with amazing energy. It is hard to imagine how they
could follow up the nonstop action of the Saturday
matinee with an evening performance. Absent from
this staging, however, was the breathtaking display
of acrobatic skills by the lead actor in New York who
was seen swinging from a "bridge" (a ladder swung
between two step ladders).
In that I had seen the New York staging in
the fall of 2010, it was diffcult for me to watch the
Paris production without trying to make comparisons
from memory. My friend's reaction, as someone un-
familiar with either the playscript or the Hitchcock
movie, was therefore helpful. She pointed out that
the French actors succeeded in carrying the show
with minimal expense and cleverly-constructed
props. One example of the latter is a doorway that
when spun around, reveals a Murphy bed. In gen-
eral, the New York production was more elaborate.
I now realize that each of the many stagings of this
blockbuster farce will doubtless have varied from all
the others.
Standard strategies for translating a movie
to comic theatre are the use of stick puppets, silhou-
etted upstage, and of projections to represent charac-
ters and locations from the flm that would otherwise
be omitted from the play. Use of these devices in this
Paris production is limited, although stick puppets
appear once for characters and also for airplanes cir-
cling overhead. On the other hand, the Metayer stag-
ing creatively introduces wide strips of blue cloth,
held by two actors, to simulate water when Hannay
and his woman companion must escape by swim-
ming. An actor in a blue coat becomes the mud that
could entrap them on the moor. Twice there is a wide
projection, behind a scrim, to reveal women danc-
ers; one of the male actors enters the flmed scene,
thus merging flm and theatre. The projection is used
for both metatheatrical scenes in a theatre where
Hannay sees Memory Man (Beche) perform.
A tiny train that crosses downstage sug-
gests one of the means of transportation incorporated
in Hannay's frantic escape from the bad guys, but
railroad cars and automobiles are more frequently
represented by theatricalist means: the motion of
seated actors prompting the spectators to use their
imaginations. Such is the case when a sign from a
politician's podium is turned into a steering wheel
and the actors sit in a "moving car."
Tributes to various Hitchcock movies that
entertained New York audiences were not present in
the Paris production, but Mtayer added a sight gag
that delighted all, except perhaps those in the front
row: Hannay is rolled in a chair right to the edge of
the stage and one expects him to land in the laps of
those seated below. He stops in time.
In addition to fog rising on the moor, as
one would anticipate, there is also a tremendous
windstorm when Hannay has taken refuge in a
farmhouse; we hear and see the wind each time the
outside door is opened. We also hear sheep and dogs;
those effective animal sounds are created by the ac-
tors. The Metayer production of The 39 Steps is an
impressive, entertaining, theatricalist tour de force.
Th la menthe ou t'es citron? is another,
long-running, riotous comedy. Its humor starts with
the enigmatic title. Phonetically, one hears "th
citron," hence "Mint or Lemon Tea?" When the ser-
vant in the play within the play repeatedly asks this
question, that is what the audience will hear. But the
written words literally are not lemon tea but "Are
you lemon?" Lemon is slang, but the meaning here
escapes my native informants in Paris; they suggest
the device is intended to get our attention, not to
provide meaning. My dictionaries state that lemon
means head, or headache, or nut. I'd mint a new title,
but would that be a lemon?
Patrick Haudecoeur began his acting career
at the age of twelve and then turned to playwrit-
ing some twenty years ago. He wrote his greatest
success, Th la menthe, with his wife, Danielle
Navarro-Haudecoeur; from 1991 to 1993; it ran for
more than 700 performances at the Caf de la Gare
and then at the Thtre des Varits. For its cur-
rent, prize-winning revival at the 621-seat Fontaine,
Haudecoeur both directed and played the male lead.
The new production opened on 16 September 2011
and was scheduled to run through 30 J une 2012. The
only seats available at the last minute on Wednesday,
4 April were the foldaway strapotins in the center
aisle; people seated next to us in regular seats said
they'd reserved their tickets in J anuary.
Th la menthe is a highly theatricalist
metaplay that parodies bedroom farce. Act 1 is a
disorganized rehearsal of a comedy that will subse-
quently be badly staged in act 2. Haudecoeur plays
77
an inexperienced, untalented actor who has been
given the lead role because his father is the pro-
ducer. He portrays the would-be lover of Nathalie
Cerda, whose husband, J ean-Luc Porraz, is away
on business. Haudecoeur's inaptitude in rehearsal is
enhanced by the chaos caused by the stage manager
(J ean-Pierre Lazzerini), who enters frequently to
work on the set, and the costume designer (Isabelle
Spade), who repeatedly confronts the actors with
tape measure in hand. Only the butler (Edouard
Pretet) is in costume; but at the "performance" he
is ill and cannot appear, so the director (Sandra
Biadalla) takes over his role.
The last-minute switch from male butler to
female servantwearing inappropriate attireis only
one of the modifcations that give rise to comic er-
rors in the "real" performance of the play within the
play. The actors are repeatedly confused by props
that have changed place, including a portrait that
is now stage left rather than stage right. Baptiste
Cipriani's set design is particularly effective in cre-
ating contrast between the improvised look of the
rehearsal scene and the polished appearance of the
production. The play within the play, as a tribute
to Georges Feydeau, is a period piece marked by a
delightful, rose-colored victrola and Natalie Cerda's
wig and elegant red dress.
Upstage center, covering the entranceway,
is an armoire that allows the would-be lover to hide
when the husband makes an unexpected return. In
the latter role, J ean-Luc Porraz gives a delightfully
deadpan performance. Adding to elements of slap-
stick is a cane chair with a false bottom; sitting on
it can be perilous. Th la menthe ou t'es citron? is
pure, timeless, fun, for both the cast and the audi-
ence.
Somewhat more cerebral than the two
comedies already discussed is ric Assous's Les
Conjoints. Directed by J ean-Luc Moreau, who also
played one of the two male roles, it opened at the
400-seat Tristan Bernard on 31 August 2011 and
was scheduled to close on Saturday, 7 April. When
I saw it on Friday evening, the day before the fnal
performance, the orchestra seats were flled and so
was half the balcony; the closing may not have been
related entirely to declining attendance but to the end
of the early Spring season.
Born in Tunisia in 1956, Assous arrived in
France at a young age and has become a well-known
writer of radio and stage plays as well as a flm direc-
tor. He is particularly known for exploring the reality
of modern couples with caustic humor. In 2010, his
L'Illusion conjugale was awarded the Molire Prize
for a Francophone author.
The Haudecoeur comedy is metatheatre in
the most obvious sense of being a play about put-
ting on a play. The Assous piece, by revealing how
we all assume roles in order to deceive others and
ourselves, is somewhat more subtle. The author has
affrmed that he intended to write a boulevard farce
but one that would make spectators think.
Two couples became acquainted at their
joint wedding, a double event that took place because
of a scheduling mistake. They subsequently have
been good friends for years but now Bob (J ean-Luc
Moreau), who has just won the lottery and can afford
Th la menthe ou t'es citron?, directed by Patrick Haudecoeur. Photo: Lot.
78
alimony and child support, has decided to divorce
his wife and replace her with a much younger wom-
an (Anne-Sophie Germanaz). The latter has been
the secretary of the other man, Xavier (J os Paul).
At the outset, Xavier's wife Delphine (Anne Loiret)
expresses dismay that her husband has invited the
new couple over for a visit; as a result, he is the one
preparing drinks and food for the guests. Much of
the surface action is rapid-fre, complete with the
sound of breaking dishes in the offstage kitchen,
but little by little the audience learns that Xavier has
been carrying on an affair with his secretary and that
Delphine and Bob have also had a romantic relation-
ship. The two couples are "conjoined" more ways
than one.
For some spectators the structure of the
Assous comedy, as well as the theme of self-decep-
tion, may recall Harold Pinter's Betrayal (1978).
Assous does not develop an entire play based on
reverse chronology, but he does introduce a series
of fashbacks and a fash forward. Thus we learn
that Bob knew about Xavier's affair with his future
second wife because he saw her coming down his
friend's stairs wearing only a man's pajama top.
Bob's own interest in both the young secretary and
in his friend's wife is revealed through two scenes,
at different points in time, when he offers each of
the women a bright red box containing a ring. When
Bob and Delphine emerge from the wine cellar with
exaggeratedly tousled hair, we understand that their
relationship is not just verbal. The breakup of Xavier
and Delphine's marriage is visualized when we see
that the husband of this supposedly stable couple
has been sleeping on a chaise lounge in the living
room. At play's end, the fash forward reveals that
the couples indeed have swapped partners. Their
decision is noted by tossing house keys onto a coffee
table downstage center.
The success of the comedy may be attrib-
uted in part to the simple, predominantly white set
designed by Charlie Mangel. Minimal furniture fa-
cilitates the rapid action. The upstage, open stairway,
the entrance to an offstage kitchen, and the outside
door that also leads to the basement, provide for
surprises associated with bedroom farce. The wall
behind the stairway is sometimes a bright blue and
sometimes amber; it suggests a wall painting that
is changed over time. Also effective in establish-
ing temporal fuidity is the lighting, designed by
Galle de Malglaive. Divisions between the numer-
ous scenes are marked by fadeouts and bright white
lights, moving in a semicircular fashion behind the
set like fashes of lightning.
Good comedy is the lifeblood of theatre.
While there are laments in Paris as elsewhere about
the health of the stage today, spectators and critics
alike have found much to enjoy in the excellent
performance in works like Les 39 marches, Th la
Menthe ou t'es citron? and Les Conjoints.
ric Assous's Les Conjoints, directed by J ean-Luc Moreau. Photo: Courtesy of the Tristan Bernard.
79
During December 2011, Iceland's theatre
scene was best represented by its two largest state
theatre organizations: The Reykjavik City Theatre
(RCT) and the National Theatre of Iceland. The-
atre Akureyri, the other nationally funded theatre,
struggled to regroup following a fnancial crisis and
the theatre at Hafnarfjur, formerly a candidate to
become the fourth state funded theatre in Iceland,
worked to reestablish itself after a change of lead-
ership. Iceland's private theatre groups, such as
Vesturport Theatre, Mindgroup, and Kviss Boom
Bang, were in preparation for Spring productions
both in Reykjavik and abroad, but unfortunately
none of them were showing productions in Iceland
during December 2011. Having received the presti-
gious European Grand Prix Award in October 2011,
Vesturport's international profle had grown steadily
with productions abroad in Russia, Korea, and Ger-
many, and the company had received an invitation
to take its production of Faust to Brooklyn's Next
Wave Festival in December 2012. Having survived
the fnancial crisis of 2008-2009, Icelandic theatre
maintains strong levels of state funding, and this
small nation of just over 300,000 saw record-break-
ing numbers in attendance at theatrical events during
the 2010-2011 season.
Since around seventy percent of the coun-
try resides in and around Reykjavik, the theatre
scene there is understandably the most prolifc in
the nation and the bulk of national arts funding
which is quite high in Icelandgoes to theatres in
Iceland's capital city. The Reykjavik City Theatre,
under the leadership of Magns Geir rarson,
experienced an incredible period of artistic growth
and community support during the four-year-period
of 2007-2011. All productions seen as part of this re-
Theatre in Iceland, Winter 2011
Steve Earnest
Jess Litli (Little Jesus), directed by Benedikt Erlingsson. Photo: Sigtryggur Ari J hannsson.
80
view were virtually sold out, extraordinarily varied
in style, and represented the companies' eclectic mix
of world theatre and Icelandic works. Though only
one original Icelandic play was in repertory in De-
cember 2011, according to rarson, the company
typically features about ffty percent Icelandic works
and ffty percent works from other countries. As the
nation's oldest continuing production company, the
Reykjavik City Theatre prides itself in presenting
the best of Icelandic and world theatre.
Jess Litli (Little J esus) featured a trio of
performersvirtually the same cast as The Deadly
Sins, which was reviewed in the Winter 2009 issue
of Western European Stages [WES 21.1, Winter
2009]. The actor-writers-production team of this
workBenedikt Erlingsson, Bergur r Inglfsson,
Halldra Geirharsdttir, Kristjana Stefansdttir,
and Snorri Freyr Hilmarssonhave collaborated to
produce a unique performance style, heavily infu-
enced by the renowned physical theatre specialist
Mario Gonzalez who previously coached the team
on The Deadly Sins. The work is set in Palestine in
the year zero after Herod had issued the edict that all
boys two years and below would be killed. Clowns
pose the question "Who would give birth to a baby
in that situation?" The performance style of Jess
Litli is a mixture of physical theatre, audience inter-
action, and contemporary social-political dialogue.
Jess Litli added layers of looking at the birth of
J esus from a comic medical perspectiveinclud-
ing scenic elements such as hospital beds, medical
screens, and equipment with characters clothed in
medical scrubs. The performance also questioned
the possibility of an immaculate conception based
on contemporary standards of medicine, which tend
to be highly practical and less accepting of fantasti-
cal events.
The presentational action of the clowns
typically involved heavy interaction with the audi-
ence based on reactions to the events that happened
in the theatre during the performance. For example,
at one point a spectator coughed loudly and the
clowns halted the action, rushed up to the specta-
tor, and offered water to confrm that everything was
going to be alright. Building on that bit of business,
they then produced cups and water for other takers
making sure that no one else was thirsty or about to
cough. They took numerous opportunities to engage
the audience in their dialogue and in typical Mario
Gonzalez fashion, looked for opportunities to react
to unexpected moments. Sold out for nearly every
performance that played in the small theatre of RCT,
Ray Cooney's Nei, rherra! (Out of Order), directed by Magns Geir rarson. Photo: Courtesy of the Reykjavik City Theatre.
81
Jess Litli won the coveted Grimn Award in 2011 in
both the categories of production of the year as well
as playwright of the year.
Nei, rherra! (literally "No, Minister") is
the Icelandic title for Ray Cooney's classic British
farce Out of Order. Directed by Artistic Director
Magns Geir rarson, this production succeeded
on all levels. Nei, rherra! featured many of the
company's leading performers, such as rstur Le
Gunnarsson, Bergur r Inglfsson, Lra J hanna
J nsdttir, and Gujn Dav Karlsson. Accord- nsdttir, and Gujn Dav Karlsson. Accord-
ing to Geir rarson, farce has typically been
extremely popular in Reykjavik and this sold out
production exhibited amazing skill as far as both
pacing and physical action were concerned. The unit
set with the critical upstage window (used for knock-
ing people in the head) was enhanced by carefully
timed sound effects that were achieved to perfection.
Percussive underscoring was used in certain sections
to accentuate the fast paced action and also empha-
sized the scenes in the upstage closet where much of
the play's critical actionsuch as the hanging of the
"dead" body and the hiding of various scantily clad
womentook place. Of particular note was the por-
trayal of the Detective/Dead Body by rstur Le
Gunnarsson who was greatly used and abused before
regaining consciousness just before the end of act 1.
Gunnarson's wild physical mannerisms were critical
as the Minister and his aide George were trying to
convince the authorities that he was not dead, but
merely drunk.
Gyllti drekinn, a new Icelandic translation
of German playwright Ronald Schimmelpfennig's
Der Goldene Drache (Golden Dragon), played in
the New Theatre. Schimmelpfennig's work has been
featured with great success in theatres across Europe
and this production gave Reykjavik audiences the
chance to witness a truly unique writing style. Gyllti
drekinn is an extraordinarily challenging work. In
Brechtian fashion the play mixes storytelling with
dialogue and presents unique challenges for the ac-
tors who were required to portray numerous char-
acters, though for the most part they only "quoted"
them. The action of the play took place at a Thai/Chi-
nese/Vietnamese restaurant located anywhere in the
world among characters from different parts of the
globe that were forced to deal with a young Chinese
man suffering from a toothache. Schimmelpfennig's
play comments on issues surrounding the challenges
of an increasingly globalized society. Matching the
Ronald Schimmelpfennig's Gyllti drekinn (Golden Dragon), directed by Kristn Eysteinsdttir.
Photo: Courtesy of the Reykjavik City Theatre.
82
fragmented text was a set made up entirely of sym-
bolscases of beer, bags of rice, stacks of dishes,
and other elements found in Asian restaurant kitch-
ens. A tremendous example of ensemble work in
the tradition of devised theatre, Gyllti drekinn was a
towering achievement in contemporary performance
aesthetics.
Elsku barn (Taking Care of Baby) by Brit-
ish playwright Dennis Kelly was perhaps the hardest
hitting of works playing on Reykjavik stages dur-
ing December 2011. A mixture of Brechtian style
and docudrama, the play centers around the case of
Donna McAuliffe, a mother convicted of the mur-
ders of her two children J ake and Megan. The open-
ing stage directionsprojected onto the back wall
in this productionstate that all textual material
had been taken word for word from notes and corre-
spondence regarding the case, though some editing
had taken place. None of the names were changed in
Kelly's text, which presented the events surround-
ing the McAullife trial in a straightforward manner
but with a decided lack of sympathy for the persons
involved. Directed by Icelandic actor-director J n
Pll Eyjlfsson and designed by Ilmur Stefnsdttir,
the work featured a glass wall mid-stage that served
as a refective surface as well as a barrier between
past and present realities. Elsku barn featured heavy
use of projected text throughout as well as a "big
brother" voice that interacted with the characters
creating the theatrical aesthetic of the interview pro-
cess. Kelly's work, however, was not about the guilt
or innocence of McAuliffe or whether the facts of
the case were true or not, but rather how stories are
pulled apart and put back together for the personal
gain of others via tabloid newspapers and sensation-
alized by national television.
Perhaps the most exciting production in
the city of Reykjavik during December 2011 was
one that possibly caused the greatest controversy.
Galdrakarlinn Oz (The Wizard of Oz) had been
heralded as both a commercial success and a failed
production that refected the decay of traditional Ice-
landic values in favor of cheap American entertain-
ment. Completely sold out for the majority of its run
at Reykjavik City Theatre, it had generated a literal
goldmine for the theatre with souvenir posters, T-
Dennis Kelly's Elsku barn (Taking Care of Baby), directed by J n Pll Eyjlfsson. Photo: Courtesy of the Reykjavik City Theatre.
83
shirts, DVDs, and other produc-
tion related materials to rival any
Broadway or West End house.
From the standpoint of
an American critic accustomed
to lavish Broadway musicals, the
production was nearly fawless.
Utilizing numerous theatrical
technologies such as advanced
fying devices (Foy could learn
from the Icelanders), video pro-
jection, stage automation, and
smoke and wind machinery, the
production yielded a level of
technical success somewhere be-
tween Broadway and Germany's
best productions. Directed by
leading company member Ber-
gur r Inglfsson and featuring
recent Listahskoli islands gradu- Listahskoli islands gradu-
ate Lra J hanna J nsdttir in
the title role as Dorothy, it was
clear that Galdrakarlinn Oz was
something of a phenomenon in
December 2011 with practically
every family in the country tak-
ing a pilgrimage to Reykjavik
to see the production. J nsdttir
brought forth a Dorothy that ri-
valed J udy Garland in her truth-
fulness, innocence, and raw sing-
ing and acting ability. Curiously,
the production, which was based
on the J ohn Kane/RSC adaptation
of 2001 included the interpolated
Garland classics "The Man Who
Got Away," and "Get Happy."
Most impressive was the use of
video rear projection for both the
tornado scene as well as the con-
frontation scenes with the Wizard.
The National Theatre of Iceland, the most
heavily funded performing arts organization in
Iceland, featured a number of extremely strong
works during December 2011, but much of the
"buzz" around the theatre centered on the upcom-
ing Icelandic premiere of the Schnberg musical
Les Miserables. The J anuary 2012 production
had already generated the same type of discussion
as The Wizard of Oz at Reykjavik City Theatre,
though perhaps to an even greater degree given the
National's mission as the chief producer of works
that feature Icelandic national characters as well as
the fact that the National Theatre remains the most
heavily funded artistic entity in Iceland. Proponents
had defended the choice as one being rooted in the
best of world musical theatre as well as one that con-
siders world revolution (important to Icelanders),
while opponents objected to the huge budget and
talent resources required to mount a work that was
essentially one already seen in commercial touring
houses throughout the world. However controversial
the choice, the Icelandic public seemed to embrace
the concept of the British and American musical
canon as a legitimate part of their national repertory.
Despite the questions raised by the inclusion of Les
Frank Baum's Galdrakarlinn Oz (The Wizard of Oz), directed by Bergur r Inglfsson. Photo:
Sigurgeir Sigursson.
84
Miz, the National Theatre's 2011-12 season featured
a total of twenty-four works, seventeen of which had
been written by Icelandic writers.
Svartur Hunder Prestsins (The Priest's
Black Dog) marked the stage debut of Icelandic
writer Auar vu lafsdttur, a graduate of the
Icelandic Academy of the Arts who gained promi-
nence in France and later Canada, winning the 2011
Kanada Prix des libraries in Quebec. Presented in
the Kassine, smaller of the two major spaces at Ice-
land's National Theatre, Svartur Hunder Prestsins
dealt with a family reunion that brought together a
number of diffcult situations and issues. While there
were no black dogs or priests in the play, the title
referred to an Icelandic saying "a eru feiri hun-
dar svartir en hundur prestsins", that literally means
"There are more black dogs than the priest's dog,"
usually said when someone is accused of something
but other suspects come to light. The matriarchal
fgure Steingerdur, portrayed by veteran Icelandic
actress Kristbjrg Kjeld, was confronted by numer-
ous issues such as her son's suspected homosexual-
ity, her daughter's alcoholism, and the vying of the
children to collect the seventy year old matriarch's
inheritance. Directed by the award winning Kristn
J hannesdttir, the production style was character-
ized by movement (subtitled "a dance theatre play in
two acts") as each of the characters had developed a
unique style of movement and dance to distinguish
their character and tell their own personal story.
Hreinsun (Purge) by Finnish author-play-
wright Sof Oksanen, is a powerful story of abandon-
ment, torture, personal reconciliation, and forgive-
ness staged on the National's main stage by Stefn
J nsson, head of the acting program at the Icelandic
Academy of the Arts. An international bestselling
novel, Hreinsun began as a play, was later extended
into a bestselling novel by Oksanen and in late 2011/
early 2012 had begun making its mark worldwide.
The story centers around two womenAliide Truu,
an older woman living in a remote portion of Estonia
and her estranged niece Zara, who appears on her
doorstep one day having escaped from the sex trade
of the Russian Mafa. Their interaction forces Aliide
to confront the horrors of her own past, including the
Soviet occupation of her homeland. Ultimately, she
makes the choice to harbor Zara instead of turning
her over to two ruthless bounty hunters who come
looking for her. Oksanen's brutal work was well
realized by the production team, with outstanding
performances given by Margrt Helga J hannsdttir
as Alide and Arnbjrg Hlf Valsdttir as Zara. A bril-
Sof Oksanen's Hreinsun (Purge), directed by Stefn J nsson. Photo: Courtesy of the National Theatre of Iceland.
85
liant set design was provided by Ilmur Stefnsdttir,
one of Iceland's most prolifc scene designers (also
the designer of Elsku barn at RCT). The cavernous
set was marked by a series of extremely long timbers
that seemed to lead into a voidrepresenting the
connection between the present and past, according
to director J nsson.
The National Theatre, the Reykjavik City
Theatre and other Icelandic theatrical institutions
have maintained a commitment to the production of
children's theatre. In fact, according to statistics pro-
duced by the Ministry of Culture, nearly 100 percent
of all Icelandic children age two and above attend
at least one performance each year. This extremely
impressive statistic partially explains the fact that,
according to attendance fgures collected by the
Ministry of Culture, all Icelanders attend a mini-
mum of two productions yearly, with many citizens
attending several more. Two children's productions
were playing at the National Theatre in December
2011Leitin a jlunum and Litla skrmsli og
stra skrmsli leikhsinu. Both works were very
simply told and presented in alternative areas of
the National Theatre. Leitin a jlunum allowed
the audience to go on a journey through the lobby
and other spaces of the large theatre. As audience
members were led by elves to eight different playing
areas, a story was told of a poor family struggling
through Christmas until they realize that the value of
being together outweighs material possessions. Litla
skrmsli og stra skrmsli leikhsinu was based
on an Icelandic comic book series by writer slaugu
lafsdttur geared towards very young children. The
cleverly staged and conceived work basically dealt
with the overall theme of a younger bear learning to
say "no" to his much older friend, also a bear. Great
costumes and a fexible stage featuring video rear
projections allowed for the seamless communica-
tion between onstage and offstage characters as Litla
Skrmslid (the younger bear) made his decisions
to say no" and not be infuenced by the older bear.
Hilarious physical action in the oversized costumes
characterized the work that was presented in a third
and smaller rehearsal space in the lower area of the
National Theatre.
Finally, Jarskjlftar London (Earth-
quakes in London) was presented by the second year
students of the Listahskoli islandsIceland's only
training program for actorsin the downstairs the-
atre of the Academy's performing arts space. Having
premiered in 2010 to generally favorable reviews
in London, Mike Bartlett's play proved an excellent
testing ground for actors in training as the cast of
twelve was required to embody forty different roles
in an episodic play that spanned from 1968 until
the year 2525. An apocalyptic cabaret as it has been
called, Jarskjlftar London included a great deal
of music and dance in a surreal tale of urban survival
by three sisters who had been abandoned by their ul-
tra conservative, fear mongering father. Fears of an
impending environmental disaster drive the nearly
hysterical tone of the work, forcing the student actors
to grapple with diffcult stylistic choices. A boldly
challenging (yet overly long) work, Jarskjlftar
Thorvaldur Thorsteinsson and Arni Egilsson's Leitin a jlunum (The Search for Christmas), directed by rhallur Sigursson.
Photo: Courtesy of the National Theatre of Iceland.
86
London demonstrated the high quality level of talent
of training at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts.
According to the numerous actors, direc-
tors, technicians, and playwrights with whom I
spoke during the month of December 2011, the
Icelandic theatre system is in superb health. Most in-
dividuals in Icelandic society, both those involved in
the arts as well as those outside of it, understand and
agree with the great wealth of state funding given to
Icelandic artists on a yearly basis, and feel that the
freedom to pursue artistic endeavors is an important
right that should be given to certain qualifed indi-
viduals. The small island nation has a strong tradi-
tion of theatre production during the Winter season,
which, according to Rakel Gardarsdottir, producer at
Vesturport Theatre, has its genesis in the following
custom: Icelanders get together during the long, dark
winter months and tell important stories about their
lives and culture. It is certain that the Icelandic the-
atre, though now refecting a greater world vision in
its repertoire, successfully embraces that ideal.
87
The light is turned down in the auditorium
and the members of the audience are lowering their
voices. The performance is about to begin. The mo-
ment of darkness is just a little bit too long so that
you start to wonderis something wrong? The
next moment there is a hint of light, a little beam
of light. Someone enters the stage, fnding his way
with a fashlight. As he walks across the stage, he
starts talking with another person through his head-
set, making reports on what he sees. He is obvi-
ously some kind of technician, reporting to the stage
manager. He wants water, a voice commands over
the loudspeaker. This, of course, must be the voice
of Godor the director! The person on the stage
answers to the demand by fetching a small basin of
water. Two other persons appear. They're all abiding
to the commands of Godor the director. What we
hear through the loudspeakers is the very frst verses
The BibleNow a Play in Three Acts
Charlott Neuhauser
Niklas Rdstrm's Bibeln (The Bible), directed by Stefan Metz. Photo: Foto Aorta.
88
of the book of Genesis. God demands, his helping
hands, as I now understand them, are three angels
who interpret and then decide to give him a basin of
water. Artistic freedom, as well as the freedom and
responsibility of man to create against the command
of a demanding God is established with humorous
lightness at the very beginning of the performance.
The Bible opened on 17 February, 2012, at
the Gothenburg City Theatre, located on the western
coast of Sweden. Gothenburg is the second largest
city of Sweden and some theatre critics claim that the
theatrical center of Sweden moved there from Stock-
holm as Lars Norn took over the artistic directorship
at The People's Theatre (Folkteatern) in Gothenburg
a number of years ago. The success of the City The-
atre since the artistic director and former actor Anna
Takanen and director-artistic director Ronnie Hall-
gren took over in 2006 is a fact. With artistic director
and much acclaimed playwright Mattias Andersson
at the youth theatre Backateatern (he just fnished
directing a modern Dream Play with raving reviews
at the City Theatre of Stockholm), Gothenburg is a
serious challenge to Stockholm as the frst theatre
city of Sweden. The split artistic directorship at the
City Theatre of Gothenburg has proven to be suc-
cessful in many ways. It prides itself in being the frst
Swedish theatre with a plan for equal opportunity,
and gender-conscious policies, which should affect
all levels of work in the theatre, including the artistic
choices. The theatre has made a commitment to new
playwriting since 2006. The Bible is the largest pro-
duction so far with a ffteen person strong ensemble
and a duration of close to fve hours.
The Swiss director Stefan Metz, formerly
Niklas Rdstrm's Bibeln (The Bible), directed by Stefan Metz. Photo: Ola Kjelbye.
89
an actor with the world famous French-British com-
pany Thtre Complicit, and whose last production
at the Gothenburg City Theatre was Henrik Ibsen's
Peer Gynt a couple of years ago, was asked to put
the Bible on stage together with his celebrated set
designer Alex Tarragel Rubio. Niklas Rdstrm, an
acclaimed Swedish playwright and also a novelist
and a poet, was offered the opportunity to dramatize
the book of all books. Staging the Bible may seem
like an impossible endeavor. Niklas Rdstrm may
have hesitated at frst, but with the previous experi-
ence of having dramatized Dante's Divine Comedy,
also for the City Theatre in Gothenburg; he was
encouraged to take on the challenge. Rdstrm is re-
nowned for dealing with deep and diffcult questions
in his work, from a play such as Hitler's Childhood
(1984) to Monsters (2005), based on the court hear-
ings of the boys who murdered baby J ames Bulger
in 1996. Monsters opened at the Arcola Theatre in
London a couple of years ago and has been staged in
Sweden, Denmark, and Croatia.
Back in the theatre, the creation of the
world goes on and the angels continue to fulfll God's
wishes, while shrugging their shoulders, signaling
disbelief. What kind of show is he going to put up,
anyway, they seem to ask. Is he just another one of
these strange directors with strange ideas, frequent-
ing the theatre? References to rehearsal talk and the
practical life of the theatre amuse the audience. Then
Adam and Eve enter, two giant babies in giant dia-
pers, chasing each other across the stage. They are
really only kids. Then, the Exegete enters, comment-
ing on the text, doing a close reading of sorts while
explaining to us the alternative Genesis. You could
read the creation of man as made side by side with
the woman, not that woman was made by Adam's
rib, he reads. Metz and Rdstrm are giving the dark
story of the relation between God and humanity a
warm touch with humorous references to the theatre
and with references to the current social world. And
who says God isn't a woman?
The set is sparse, using giant projections and
light effects to create different locations and moods.
A three-level high construction is rolled in center
stage, helping to create the image of Noah's Ark.
It is subsequently used as other key places during
the course of the performance as it is being moved
around, sometimes off stage. The Ark is staged as a
ship flled with animals, that we can hear but see only
as shadows. The Ark is turned into a cargo boat with
the help of giant projections and two refugees, a man
and a woman, who manage to hide there in order to
save their lives from the food.
With the help of projections, the origin of
mankind becomes a spectacular, grand, blood-flled
nebulaor wombpictured on a backdrop sur-
rounding an actor curled up on the foor. The mag-
nifcent ending of act 2 is a projection of Leonardo
da Vinci's Last Supper on a group of actors sitting
down at a table, covered in white cloth which evokes
the swaddling cloth of the body of J esus. The pro-
jected image of the painting tells its own story of its
mythologized history as the image of the last meal
of J esus with the apostles. Of course, the painting
is made from da Vinci's fantasy, but it has become
identical with the image of the "real event" for gen-
erations after da Vinci. The picture of The Last Sup-
per also functions as a reminder of artistic creation
in the wake of Christianity and religion. The perfor-
mance puts the text of the Bible on stage, right in
front of your eyes. The religious message, however,
is upstaged by the actual struggle of humanity with
Author's Title, directed by Director. Photo: Ola Kjelbye.
90
a demanding God. In the play, God is incomprehen-
sive and unpredictable, not the image of a forgiving
father. At times, God and his angels turn out to be all
too human. In the end one of the angels turns into a
devil.
In playwright Niklas Rdstrm's and di-
rector Stefan Metz's stage version of the Bible, the
word is getting center stage, its holiness can be un-
derstood in terms of its mythical quality. The man
and the woman take refuge on Noah's Ark, and in the
pre-Babylonian time animals and all human beings
understand each other's language. The destruction
of the tower of Babylon becomes the starting point
and the frst real break with God. Nobody can re-
ally tell why he interferes with the building of the
tower. Suddenly the Bible appears to be flled with
different strategies of disciplining crowds of people.
(Could the Bible be interpreted as a manual of man-
agement?) Given the possibility that we ourselves
create our God, what does the God we have created
tell us about ourselves? Furthermore, God appears
irrational, as irrational as humans act, while we long
for the love, as in the love song told by an captured
J eremiah, borrowing the words of the "Song of Solo-
mon."
How do you present a text that has been
interpreted for hundreds of years? Perhaps the alle-
gory of God creating and the director and playwright
putting up a play isn't that far-fetched after all? God
creates, shows the world to humanity; God teaches
by example. God demands actions for which we don't
know the reasons. The Bible text must, in some sense,
always be interpreted in order to be meaningful. Nik-
las Rdstrm describes the work with the material:
"My frst plan when I started working on
the dramatization of the book of all books was to ap-
proach the texts in a similar way as when we read the
old Greek dramas in the theatre. There we try to fnd
the urgency of text, how it addresses us today, we
ask what is relevant and meaningful in the text for us
today. At the same time, I wanted to keep the respect
for the original text, also in the places where it felt
anachronistic and dated () questions of life and
death, power and submission, love and hatred, jus-
tice and righteousness which we never are fnished
investigating and are showing, on stage and in our
daily lives. The texts of the Bible have, regardless of
what we believe in or not believe in, been crucial for
our images of ourselves, our societies, our culture."
The similarities between the church and the
theatre are not only allegorical. Here, the theatre ac-
tually is the church where we are asked to encounter
the myths onthis seems the best descriptiona
pre-narrative level. We encounter what comes before
the story of the infuence of the Bible on Western
culture. The words of the Bible are made fesh, they
come to life. The archetypal fgures and situations
invite interpretations to become fctionalized. It is as
if the staging of the Bible promised that fction will
come, there will be more art coming out of this Book,
which we, of course, already know. The effect is, that
while sitting in the audience watching, you experi-
ence the need for artistic work in the world. We need
fction to fll the void after the word has been laid
down. Rdstrm in that sense, while making a play
out of the Bible, uses the Bible to tell us about the
function of art and the purpose of life.
Theatre, artistic creation, and the condition
for man on earth are woven together to a tribute to
the theatre (and the arts). Theatre, where this show
The Bible is told, is also at the core of the living
conditions of mankind. And so is putting on stage, to
share a story as well. In the biblical stories, culture is
created out of war, struggles, birth, death, love. The
performance tells the story that life itself needs stag-
ing to refect and be part of the disparate, desperate
community we call earth. We watch the stage come
to life with the help of the book of creation, but it
is not a naturalistic representation of nature, rather a
minimalistic version invoking the theatricality of the
situation. As the Exegete says in the play: "Every-
thing here is make-believe. The carpenter who just
entered, he was planned and not real. You know it,
I know it. But that we're here, that we live, that is
real. And however you believe the world was cre-
ated, whatever idea you have about the origin of
creation, whatever you think about the beginning of
time we do not escape the fact that we exist, that
we are alive, that life exists and that it is something
we haven't created ourselves. It is a gift, something
to cherish, to be grateful for, perhaps... All this is
make-belief, but that we are here, together, that right
now we are alive. That is true."
Rdstrm's text creates art out of negating
the artifce, the make-believe, making us understand
the here and now by poetic imagination and shows
us, again, how art is intertwined with life. The one
does not exist without the other.
91
Abbey Theatre, Dublin ............................ 23:2, 512
Abel, Yves ................................................... 23:3, 61
AbdelMaksoud, Nora ................................ 23:3, 17
Acevedo, Esther ............................................ 23:2, 5
Adeva, Chema ............................................. 23:3, 78
Aeschylus
Agamemnon .............................................. 23:3, 7
The Persians..................................... 23:3, 1089
Prometheus ............................................... 23:1, 5
Afsin, Erol ................................................... 23:3, 17
Ahedo, J avier ........................................ 23:2, 2930
Ahr, Kenrik ................................................. 23:2, 56
Aiken, Charlie ............................................. 23:2, 22
Aime, Chantal ....................................... 23:2, 164
Aixal, Mireia ................................23:2, 25; 23:1, 6
Aksizoglu, Amre ......................................... 23:3, 17
Aladrn, J ess ............................................. 23:3, 84
Alagna, Roberto .................................... 23:2, 17, 20
Alamo, Roberto ........................................... 23:3, 46
Alberdi. Begoa .......................................... 23:2, 16
Albinyana, Queralt ...................................... 23:2, 16
Alcaiz, Munsta ...................................... 23:2, 134
Alfons, Gerd .................................23:1, 64; 23:3, 54
Altan, Sohel ................................................. 23:3, 17
Alvarez, Roberto ..................................... 23:3, 823
Andre, J ulie
Not Waterproof, Rouge ........................... 23:1, 15
Andueza, J uana ....................................... 23:1, 356
Andjar, J ordi .............................................. 23:1, 10
Archambault, Hortense ............................... 23:3, 25
Archibald, J ane ........................................... 23:2, 53
Arco, Miguel del ..................................... 23:2, 279
Ardiente, Espuela ........................................ 23:3, 80
Arestegui, Alejandro ....................23:1, 33; 23:2, 33
Arvalo, Ral ...............................23:2, 27; 23:3, 80
Arias, Cristina ............................................. 23:3, 85
Armiliato, Marco ......................................... 23:1, 59
Arnold, J ohn ................................................ 23:2, 46
Arquillu, Pere .......................................... 23:1, 78
Arnaud-Kneisky, Romain ........................... 23:3, 41
Armengol, Maria ......................................... 23:2, 24
Armio, Mauro ........................................... 23:2, 26
Artaud, Antonin ........................................... 23:2, 59
Arto, Aurelia ............................................... 23:1, 29
Avignon Festival ................................... 23:1, 1530
Arrivabeni, Paolo ........................................ 23:3, 60
Arslan, Tamar .............................................. 23:3, 17
Ashford, Rob ............................................... 23:3, 46
Audick, J anina ............................................. 23:2, 58
Aug, Marc ................................................. 23:1, 21
Austria, theatre in .................23:1, 636; 23:1, 404
Auyanet, Yolanda ........................................ 23:3, 84
Avignon Festival, Festival..................... 23:3, 2544
Ayuste, Fernando ........................................ 23:3, 84
Azcona ........................................................ 23:1, 10
Aznar, J osep ........................................ 23:1, 4, 124
Azorlin, Paco ............................................... 23:1, 14
Bachler, Klaus ............................................. 23:3, 60
Bachmann, Stefan ................................. 23:3, 1820
Banacolocha, J ordi ...................................... 23:2, 22
Bannwart, Patrick ........................................ 23:1, 60
Barba, Lurdes .......................................23:2, 4, 112
Barbal, Maris
Pedra de tartera ............................23:2, 5, 1112
Barber, Marina ...........................................23:2, 11
Barbier, Mathieu ......................................... 23:3, 44
Barbusca, Serge ........................................... 23:3, 41
Barcelona, theatre in ............23:2, 826; 23:1, 514
Barlow, Patrick
The 39 Steps ....................................... 23:1, 356
Barrando, J sus ........................................... 23:3, 81
Barrault, J eanLouis ................................... 23:3, 39
Barth, Michela ............................................. 23:1, 54
Bassas, Angels ............................................... 23:1, 9
Baudriller, Vincent ...................................... 23:3, 25
Bauer, Michael ............................................ 23:1, 60
Baumbauer, Frank ....................................... 23:1, 33
Baumgarten, Sebastian ................................ 23:2, 58
Bauer, Falk .................................................. 23:3, 59
Bauer, Torsten ............................................. 23:3, 15
Baumgarten, Sebastian ................................ 23:3, 61
Boyn, Eliana .............................................. 23:2, 18
Bayreuth Festival, Germany ............. 23:3, 53, 612
Beatus, Otto ................................................. 23:3, 16
Bebel, Sergei
Fura de Joc .......................................... 21:1, 5, 9
Beckett, Samuel
Forasters ............................................... 23:1, 10
First Love ............................................ 23:1, 78
Waiting for Godot ................................... 23:3, 45
Beckmann, Lina ...........................................23:3, 11
Beheshti, Shaghayegh ................................. 23:1, 41
Behr, Victoria .............................................. 23:3, 15
Beier, Karen ...........................23:1, 312; 23:3, 48
Beisswenger, Sonja ..................................... 23:3, 13
Bel, Pepe ..................................................... 23:2, 22
Belbel, Sergi ............................................ 23:2, 213
Bell, Emma ................................................. 23:3, 56
Bellini, Vincenzo
I Capuleti e I Montecchi .................. 23:3, 5960
Index to Western European Stages, Volume 23
92
Bellugi-Vannuccini, Duccio ........................ 23:1, 42
Benaksy, Ralph, Hans Mller, Erik Charell
Im Weien Rl .................................. 23:2, 578
Bene, Carlo ........................................... 23:3, 69, 71
Benedicto, Sonsoles .................................... 23:3, 81
Benet I J ornet, J osep ..................................... 23:2, 1
Dues dones que ballen ....................23:2, 5, 811
Benito, Andreu ............................................ 23:2, 13
Bengtsson, Maria ........................................ 23:3, 63
Berge, Sylvia ............................................. 23:3, 106
Bergman, Ingmar ........................................ 23:3, 71
Berlanga, Luis Garca................................. 23:1, 34
Berlin, theatre in .......23:1, 3159; 23:2, 538; 23:3,
424, 8790, 97100
Berlin Group
Tagfsh ................................................. 23:3, 103
Bernedo, Diana ........................................... 23:2, 29
Berndt, Fred ................................................ 23:2, 53
Bernhardt, Thomas
Ritter, Dene, Voss ................................ 23:1, 89
Bertolini, Francesco
Dante ...................................................... 23:3, 23
Bialik, Haim Naham ................................... 23:1, 29
Bianchi, Renato ......................................... 23:3, 107
Bieito, Calixto ..........23:1, 8; 23:2, 1620; 23:3, 47
Bigonzetti, Mauro
Caravaggio ........................................ 23:2, 556
Binoche, J uliette .......................................... 23:3, 37
Binswanger, Hans Christoph ....................... 23:3, 68
Bizet, Georges
Carmen ............................................. 23:2, 1620
Blaga, Calin ................................................. 23:3, 43
Blaise, Pierre
Le Dernier Cri de Constantin ................ 23:1, 29
Bluthart, J an ................................................ 23:3, 20
Boada, Xavier ..........................23:1, 123; 23:3, 51
Boadella, Albert .......................................... 23:2, 26
Bodhum, theatre in ................................ 23:3, 1012
Bod, Viktor ............................................ 23:1, 404
Bsch, David ............................................... 23:1, 60
Bolliger, Stefan ........................................... 23:3, 65
Bondy, Luc ...........................23:1, 5960; 23:3, 108
Bonitatibus, Anna ........................................ 23:1, 59
Borchers, Anna ............................................ 23:2, 56
Bosch, Paula ................................................ 23:1, 13
Bosse, J an .................................................... 23:1, 34
Boucicault, Dion
ArrahnaPogue ................................ 23:2, 512
Bourcier, Franois ....................................... 23:3, 42
Boussard, Vincent ....................................... 23:3, 60
Braunschweig, Emmanuelle ....................... 23:3, 41
Braunschweig, Stphane ......................... 23:2, 456
Brecht, Bertolt
Threepenny Opera ............ 23:1, 60; 23:3, 1055
Breedt, Michelle .......................................... 23:1, 63
Bregenz Festival, Austria .....23:1, 636; 23:3, 536
Breslick, Pavol ............................................ 23:1, 60
Bresson, Robert ........................................... 23:3, 43
Breth, Andrea .......................................... 23:3, 5, 14
Breuer, Lee .......................................... 23:3, 10710
Bri, Gemma ............................................... 23:2, 25
Broche, Marie ............................................. 23:3, 44
Broggi, Oriol ....23:1, 5, 123; 23:2, 26; 23:3, 502
Brook, Peter ...........................23:2, 17, 20; 23:3, 45
Brossa, Sebasti .......................................... 23:3, 50
Brottet Michel, Sebastien ............................ 23:1, 41
Bruckner, Anton .......................................... 23:1, 25
Bruns, Reyna ............................................... 23:1, 56
Bchner, Georg
Woyzeck .................................................... 23:2, 5
Bunchschuh, Matthias ..................................23:3, 11
Burgtheater, Vienna ............................... 23:3, 1820
Burkina Faso, theatre in .......................... 23:3, 224
Busch, Alexander ........................................ 23:1, 56
Busuttil, Diane ...................................... 23:2, 5960
Buzalka, Nora ............................................. 23:3, 16
Caballero, Ernesto
Oratorio para Edith Stein .................... 23:2, 56
Santo ........................................................ 23:2, 5
Cadafalch, Rosa .......................................... 23:2, 12
Cadiot, Olivier ............................................. 23:3, 45
Caldern, Pedro
El galn fantasma .................................. 23:2, 33
El gran teatro del mundo ....................... 23:3, 47
La vida es sueo ..................................... 23:2, 34
Calot, J uan ....................................23:1, 33; 23:2, 34
Campione, Sebastian ................................... 23:1, 62
Camus, Albert
Caligula............................................ 23:3, 6976
Camus, Albert ............................................. 23:1, 25
Canetti, Elias ............................................... 23:3, 19
Cnova, Elena
Rumbo a Guachafta .......................... 23:2, 313
Canturri, Marc ............................................. 23:2, 18
Capitani, Cesare .......................................... 23:1, 29
Capitanucci, Fabio Maria ............................ 23:1, 60
Carneiro de Cunha, J uliana ......................... 23:1, 42
Capdevielle, J onathan ........................... 23:2, 60, 62
Carreras, J oan .......................................... 23:2, 134
Carsen, Robert ....................................... 23:3, 5960
CartierBresson ........................................... 23:2, 17
Carydis, Constantinos ................................. 23:3, 58
Casablanc, Pedro ......................................... 23:3, 80
Casamajor, Roger .........................................23:2, 11
Casanovas, Alex .......................................... 23:3, 46
Casasayas, Querlt ........................................ 23:1, 10
93
Castan, Annabel .......................................... 23:2, 12
Castells, Lluc ............................................... 23:2, 24
Castellucci, Romeo ..................................... 23:3, 45
Sul Concetta di Volta nel Figlio di Dio . 23:3, 25,
313
Castorf, Frank ......................23:1, 42; 23:3, 8, 134
CastrilloFerrer, Alberto ............................. 23:3, 45
Cavestany, J uan and J uan Mayorga
Alejando y Ana ......................................... 23:2, 7
Penumbra ............................................. 23:2, 57
Cerri, Carlo ................................................. 23:2, 55
Cervantes, Miguel de
Entremeses ............................................. 23:2, 33
Chaizew, J ean .............................................. 23:3, 10
Charmatz, Boris
Flip Book, La danseuse malade ............. 23:1, 15
Chekhov, Anton
The Cherry Orchard ..................... 23:3, 101, 71
Platanov ................................................. 23:3, 10
The Seagull ............................................... 23:1, 6
Three Sisters .............................. 23:2, 5; 23:1, 20
Chreau, Patrice .......................................... 23:3, 45
Csaire, Aim
Cahiers dun retour au pays natal ......... 23:1, 28
Cheli, Vinico ............................................... 23:2, 27
Choi, Souk................................................... 23:3, 40
Cister, Mrcia ............................................ 23:3, 51
Cixous, Hlne
Les Naufrags du Fol Espoir ........... 23:1, 3942
Clamer, Raphael ...................................... 23:1, 456
Clavier, Franois
Cieavec vue sur la mer ........................... 23:3, 40
Claudel, Paul
LEchange .............................................. 23:1, 29
Clemente, Cristina ....................................... 23:1, 10
Cloos, Peter ............................................. 23:1, 434
Cohen, Leonard ........................................... 23:2, 26
Coliban, Sorin ............................................. 23:1, 66
Cologne, theatre in .......................... 23:3, 58, 101
Comas, Antoni............................................. 23:2, 16
Compagnie Salticidae
Nijinsky 1919 ......................................... 23:3, 44
Cornejo, J uan Gmez .................................. 23:3, 46
Connors, Kevin ........................................... 23:1, 59
Conrad, J oseph
Heart of Darkness .................................. 23:1, 63
Cooper, Dennis ............................................ 23:2, 60
Copper, Kelly .............................................. 23:1, 39
Corbella, Lloren ........................................ 23:2, 10
Cordero, J uana ............................................ 23:1, 36
Cort, Ester ................................................... 23:2, 13
Coso, Angel ............................................. 23:3, 467
Courvoisier, Franpose ............................... 23:1, 26
Crete, theatre in ........................................... 23:3, 44
Criado, Ana ................................................. 23:2, 16
Crimp, Martin ............................................... 23:1, 6
Cristi, Estel ...........................................23:2, 11, 21
Cuerda, Ricardo .......................................... 23:3, 82
Currentzis, Teodor ....................................... 23:1, 63
Cuvelier, Brigitte ..........................................23:3, 11
Dairou, Bruno ............................................. 23:3, 41
Dalal, Gregor ............................................... 23:1, 62
DArcangelo, Ildebrando ............................ 23:1, 59
Damovsky, Bernd ........................................ 23:3, 87
Darge, Fabienne .......................................... 23:1, 15
Dargent, Sabine ........................................... 23:2, 51
Dasch, Annette ............................................ 23:1, 52
Daulte, J avier .............................................. 23:3, 46
Daum, Heike Susanne ................................. 23:1, 62
Debacker, Griet ........................................... 23:1, 22
Dedler, Rochus ............................................ 23:1, 70
De Keersmacker, Anne Teresa .................... 23:3, 26
De la Boetie, Etienne
Discours sur la servitude volontaire ...... 23:3, 40
Delavan, Mark ....................................... 23:3, 8890
De Sarabia, Arantxa ...................................... 23:2, 7
Dillon, Hugo ............................................... 23:1, 29
Dippe, Yorck ............................................... 23:3, 10
Di Stephano, Donato ................................... 23:1, 59
Dobreva, Diana ............................23:1, 29; 23:3, 44
Domingo, Marta .......................................... 23:1, 12
Donizetti, Gaetano
The Elixir of Love .................................. 23:1, 60
Lucia di Lammermoor............................ 23:2, 53
Lucrezia Borgia ................................ 23:3, 5960
Donmar Warehouse, London ...................... 23:3, 46
Dorn, Dieter ................................................ 23:1, 58
Doutey, Mlanie .......................................... 23:1, 44
Dowd, J effrey .............................................. 23:1, 56
Draxl, Mariam ............................................. 23:2, 56
Dreissigacker, Thomas ................................ 23:1, 33
Dresden, theatre in .......................... 23:3, 124, 102
Dueso, Manel .............................................. 23:3, 51
Dupont, Charles .......................................... 23:1, 27
Durozier, Maurice ................................. 23:1, 3942
Durringer, Xavier
La Conqute ........................................... 23:3, 40
Exvoto .................................................. 23:3, 40
Surfers .................................................... 23:3, 40
Une envie de tuer ................................... 23:3, 40
Dvorak, Antonin
Rusalka ............................................... 23:3, 567
Echanove, J uan
Desaparecer ........................................... 23:3, 47
Ellert, Gundi ................................................ 23:1, 36
El Mountassir, Abdel Aziz .......................... 23:2, 17
94
Els J oglars, Barcelona ................................. 23:2, 26
Engel, Maria Luisa ...................................... 23:3, 83
England, theatre in ................................ 23:2, 4750
Erdman, Nicolai
The Suicide ........................................... 23:3, 269
Ernst, Norbert .............................................. 23:1, 55
Erod, Adrian ................................................ 23:1, 55
Erpulat, Nurkan ................................. 23:3, 168, 97
Escribano, Olalla ..........................23:1, 34; 23:2, 34
Ese, Dario .................................................... 23:2, 29
Espert, Nuria ........................................... 23:2, 269
The Rape of Lucrece .......................... 23:2, 279
Estebam, J os Luis ........................................ 23:2, 5
Esteras, Emilio .............................................. 23:2, 6
Etchells, Tim ......................................... 23:2, 4750
Ethadab, Yael .............................................. 23:1, 25
Euripides
Alceste .................................................... 23:3, 44
Medea ........................................ 23:1, 7; 23:3, 44
Everding, August ..................................... 23:2, 534
Evin, Franck ................................................ 23:2, 56
Fabisch, Dagmar ......................................... 23:3, 13
Falco ............................................................ 23:3, 19
Fallada, Hans
Kleiner Mannwas nun? .................... 23:1, 356
Fassbinder, Rainer Werner
Katzelmacher ......................................... 23:1, 25
Feinmann, J ose Pable
Cuestions con Ernesto Che Guevara ..... 23:1, 28
Fenollar, Marta
El extrao viaje .................................. 23:2, 336
Ferdane, MarieSophie ............................. 23:3, 106
Fernandez, Dominique ................................ 23:1, 29
FernndezShaw, Guillermo ....................... 23:3, 83
Feudeau, Georges ........................................ 23:2, 46
Fielding, David ........................................... 23:3, 54
Fiennes, Ralph ............................................... 23:1, 8
Filippo, Eduardo di
Natale in Casa Cupiello ........................ 23:1, 12
Questi fantasmi ............................... 23:1, 1214
Finland, theatre in ................................. 23:2, 6366
Fischbach, Frdric ..................................... 23:3, 37
Flores, Alfons .......................................... 23:2, 178
Flotats, J osep Maria ................................ 23:2, 267
Flubacher, Sandra ........................................ 23:1, 48
Folk, Abel ................................................ 23:2, 212
Fons, Antoni Parera
Amb els peus a la lluna ........................ 23:1, 14
Font, Amelia ................................................ 23:3, 84
Fontanales, Francisco .................................... 23:2, 6
Forced Entertainment
The Thrill of It All ........................... 23:2, 4750
Fosse, J an
I am the Wind ......................................... 23:3, 45
Foucault, Michel ......................................... 23:3, 44
Fragas, Francisco ...................................... 23:1, 38
France, theatre in ...................... 23:1, 3946, 1530;
................................................. 23:3, 2544, 10510
Frank, Pierre ............................................ 23:1, 434
Frigerio, Ezio .............................................. 23:2, 27
Fritsch, Herbert ............................. 23:3, 810, 146
Forsch, Kathrin ........................................... 23:3, 10
Frey, Cornel ................................................. 23:1, 62
Friedel, Christian ......................................... 23:3, 13
Friedrich, Eberhard ................................. 23:1, 545
Frittoli, Barbara ........................................... 23:1, 59
Fura dels Baus ....................23:2, 26, 2930; 23:1, 7
Furlan, Massimo
1973 .................................................... 23:1, 201
Fussy, Raimund ........................................... 23:1, 71
Gadebois, Gregory .................................... 23:3, 107
Grtnerplatz Theater, Munich ................. 23:1, 602
Galn, Eduardo
Curva de felicidad .................................. 23:2, 33
Lazarillo de Tormes ............................... 23:2, 33
Maniobras .......................................... 23:2, 314
Los viernes, tutorial ............................... 23:2, 33
Galcern, J ordi
Fuga ......................................................... 23:2, 8
El mtodo Grnholm ................................ 23:2, 8
Palabras encadenadas ............................. 23:2, 5
Gallardo, Manuel .........................23:1, 33; 23:2, 33
Garca, Camilo ............................................ 23:3, 51
Garvin, Bradley ........................................... 23:1, 66
Gas, Mario ................................23:2, 5, 26; 23:3, 46
Gaspar, J uan Pedro de ................................. 23:3, 84
Gatell, Pep ................................................... 23:2, 29
Gatti, Daniele .............................................. 23:1, 54
Gaud, Laurent
Cendres sur les mains ............................ 23:3, 42
Gavan, Miro
Creon's Antigone .................................... 23:3, 44
Gelabert, Cesc and Frederic Amat
Ki .............................................................. 23:1, 5
Genardire, Philippe de la
Simples mortels ...................................... 23:1, 25
Genebat, Christina ..................23:2, 245; 23:1, 67
German, Montse .......................................... 23:2, 22
Germany, theatre in ...........23:2, 538; 23:1, 3172;
................................................... 23:3, 424, 87104
Gibbons, Scott ............................................. 23:3, 32
Gil, Ariadna ................................................. 23:3, 46
Gil, J os Luis ................................................ 23:2, 8
Gil, Maife .................................................... 23:2, 22
Gillard, Franoise ...................................... 23:3, 108
Giordano, Umberto
95
Andrea Chenier ................................. 23:3, 536
Girard, Philippe ..........................23:2, 46; 23:3, 109
Giraudoux, J ean
Les Anges du Pch................................ 23:3, 43
Giroutru, Frdrick ................................... 23:3, 109
Giua, Cartes Fernndez ............................... 23:3, 45
Glaenzel, Max ..................................23:2, 11, 14, 21
Gockley, David ........................................... 23:3, 61
Gbel, Wolfgang ......................................... 23:1, 66
Goethe, J ohann
Faust .................................................. 23:3, 678
Gogol, Nicolai ............................................. 23:1, 64
Gollesch, J rg................................................ 23:3, 7
Gmez, Fernando Fernn ............................ 23:1, 34
Gmez, Pedro .............................................. 23:2, 33
Gonon, Christian ....................................... 23:3, 108
Gonzlez, Elena .......................................... 23:3, 50
Gonzlez, Marco Antonio ........................... 23:1, 38
Goos, Maria
Cloaca (Baraka) ................................. 23:2, 234
Gordin, Igor ................................................. 23:3, 70
Grriz, Miquel ........................................... 23:1, 78
Gould, Stephen ............................................ 23:3, 65
Gowen, Peter ............................................... 23:2, 52
Grser, Olivia .............................................. 23:1, 38
Grail, Valrie ............................................... 23:1, 28
Grandinetti, Dario ................................... 23:2, 234
Granovsky, Nora ......................................... 23:3, 43
Grassian, Stanislas
Mystre Pessoa ...................................... 23:3, 42
Gravina, Carla ............................................. 23:3, 71
Grec Festival, Barcelona ......................... 23:1, 514
Gridley, Anne .............................................. 23:1, 40
Gttzinger, Heike ........................................ 23:1, 59
Gruber, Carola ............................................. 23:1, 55
Grudzinsky, Marie ....................................... 23:1, 29
Guallar, Montse ........................................... 23:2, 25
Guillain, Gilles ............................................ 23:3, 44
Guiltiaeva, Nadezhda .................................. 23:3, 70
Guinart, Oriol ................................................ 23:1, 6
Guinnane, Matt ........................................... 23:2, 51
Guiraud, Ernest ........................................... 23:2, 20
Guitry, Sasha
Beaumarchais ..................................... 23:2, 267
Guth, Claus ............................................. 23:3, 624
Guyard, Alain
Outlaw in Love ....................................... 23:3, 42
Gygax, J onas ............................................... 23:3, 20
Haas, J ean ................................................... 23:1, 44
Hackl, Heidi ................................................ 23:3, 57
Haenel, Yannick .......................................... 23:3, 26
Hall, Lee
La Cuisine d'Elvis .................................. 23:1, 30
Halttu, Kristina ............................................ 23:2, 64
Hancissse, Thierry ................................. 23:3, 1056
Handke, Peter
Die Stunde, da wir nichts wuten ...... 23:1, 404
Hanly, Peter ................................................. 23:2, 52
Hanus, Toma .............................................. 23:3, 57
Hardy, Rosemary ........................................... 23:3, 5
Harmes, Kirsten .................................... 23:3, 8790
Harquet, Sebantien ...................................... 23:3, 41
Hass, Katya ..................................23:1, 48; 23:3, 57
Haug, Helgard ........................................... 23:3, 103
Hauptmann, Gerhart
Der Biberpelz ............................... 23:3, 810, 14
Hause, Philipp ............................................. 23:1, 49
Hebbel, Friedrich
The Nibelungen ...................................... 23:1, 34
Hbertot Thtre, Paris ........................... 23:1, 434
Helf, Oliver ................................................. 23:1, 48
Henkel, Alexandra ....................................... 23:3, 18
Henkel, Karen ......................................... 23:3, 101
Herbstmeyer, Mireille ............................... 23:3, 109
Herheim, Stefan .......................................... 23:1, 53
Herlitzius, Evelyn ........................23:1, 52; 23:3, 65
Hernndez, Natalia ...................................... 23:3, 49
Herold, Falko .............................................. 23:1, 60
Herwig, Paul ............................................... 23:1, 36
Heyman, Barbara ........................................ 23:1, 38
Hillje, J ens
Verrcktes Blut ........................ 23:3, 168, 978
Hillito, Carlos ........................................ 23:3, 456
Hinrichs, Momme ....................................... 23:1, 54
Hitchcock, Alfred ........................................ 23:1, 35
Hochmair, Philipp ....................................... 23:3, 68
Hoevels, Daniel ..................................... 23:1, 38, 47
Hoffmann, Constance.................................. 23:3, 55
Hofmann, J udith .......................................... 23:1, 38
Hofmannsthal, Hugo von ............................ 23:3, 59
Jedermann .............................................. 23:3, 66
Hollandia ..................................................... 23:1, 33
Holmes, Sean .............................................. 23:2, 24
Homberger, Christoph ................................. 23:1, 46
Homrich, Martin ......................................... 23:2, 53
Hoppe, Catherine ........................................ 23:3, 13
Horvth, dn von
Kasimir und Karoline ......................... 23:1, 335
Houellebecq, Michel
Elementarteilchen .................................. 23:1, 33
Hoy, Mar del ............................................... 23:1, 35
Platform ................................................. 23:3, 48
Huarte, Natalia .............................................. 23:2, 7
Hbner, Charly ............................................ 23:3, 10
Hbner, Lutz
The Company Abdicates......................... 23:3, 98
96
Hugo, Victor ................................................ 23:3, 59
Hungary, theatre in ...................................... 23:1, 41
Hunger-Bhler, Robert ................................ 23:3, 20
Hyvnen, Ville ............................................ 23:2, 65
Ibsen, Henrik
A Doll's House (Nora)............. 23:3, 146, 813
Hedda Gabler ......................................... 23:3, 14
The Master Builder ............................ 23:1, 434
Insausti, Maria Lpez .................................. 23:1, 37
Ionesco, Eugene
Rhinoceros ............................................ 23:3, 39
Ireland, theatre in .................................... 23:2, 512
Isemer, Sonja ................................................. 23:3, 9
Isermeyer, J rg
Ohne Moos nix los ................................. 23:3, 99
Italy, theatre in ...................................... 23:3, 6976
J ambet, Pauline ........................................... 23:3, 41
J aniska, Mirko ............................................. 23:2, 56
J ankowski, Rahel J ohann ............................ 23:3, 16
J artti, Tero ............................................. 23:2, 63, 65
J elinek, Elfriede
Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns ............. 23:1, 50;
............................................................... 23:1, 32, 50
Das Werk/Im Bus/Ein Sturz ................. 23:3, 48
Winterreise ......................................... 23:3, 945
J enisch, Georg ............................................. 23:1, 61
J esatko, Thomas .......................................... 23:1, 54
J imnez, Ikerne ........................................... 23:1, 36
J ohn, Markus ......................................... 23:1, 32, 35
J osa, Marissa ............................................... 23:3, 51
J ung, Abdr ..................................23:1, 36; 23:3, 95
J unges Ensemble, Stuttgart
Nach Schwaben, Kinder! ............... 23:3, 99100
Kacimi, Mohamed
1962........................................................ 23:1, 28
Kaegi, Stefan ............................................. 23:3, 103
Kampwirth, J anPeter ..................................23:3, 11
Kandy .......................................................... 23:3, 22
Karamazov, Vlado ....................................... 23:1, 29
Kassies, Sophie
The Child of the Soul............................ 23:3, 100
Katzer, Dorothea ......................................... 23:3, 87
Kaufmann, J onas ................................... 23:1, 52, 59
Kaune, Michaela ......................................... 23:1, 55
Kebour, Fabrice ........................................... 23:1, 64
Keersmaker, Teresa de
En attendant .......................................... 23:1, 15
Keil, Hartmut .............................................. 23:1, 56
Keller, Marthe ............................................. 23:3, 27
Kellesidi, Elene ........................................... 23:1, 63
Kelly, Dennis
Love and Money ................. 23:1, 32, 478, 378
Kelsey, Quinn .............................................. 23:1, 66
Kempson, Sibyl ........................................... 23:1, 40
Kessler, Anne ............................................ 23:3, 108
Ketelsen, Hans J oachim .............................. 23:1, 52
Kimmig, Stephan ........................................ 23:3, 57
Kirsch, Simon ............................................. 23:3, 18
Klein, Katrin ............................................... 23:1, 38
Klimt, Gustav .......................................... 23:3, 889
Kluck, Oliver
Warterraum Zukunft ............................... 23:3, 99
Knaack, Peter .............................................. 23:3, 18
Koch, Wolfgang .......................................... 23:3, 65
Koek, Paul ................................................... 23:1, 33
Kpf, Markus .............................................. 23:1, 71
Kpplinger, J osef ........................................ 23:1, 61
Kohi, Seear .................................................. 23:1, 41
Korea, theatre in .................................... 23:3, 3940
Korn, Artur .................................................. 23:1, 55
Kowalewitz, Andreas .................................. 23:1, 62
Kramer, Hans .............................................. 23:1, 37
Kreigenburg, Andreas ............................. 23:1, 378
Kreusch, J ulia .............................................. 23:3, 20
Krger, Fabien ............................................ 23:1, 40
Kuhl, Manja ................................................ 23:3, 15
Kuhn, Alfred ............................................... 23:1, 59
Kupfer, Harry .......................................... 23:3, 623
Kurzak, Aleksandra ..................................... 23:3, 65
Kuej, Martin .............................................. 23:3, 57
Kwahule, Koff
Jaz .......................................................... 23:3, 45
Kwiecien, Mariusz ...................................... 23:1, 59
Labory, Marie .............................................. 23:1, 15
LaBute, Neil
Romance, the Furies, HelterSkelter ... 23:1, 67
Lacroix, Christian ....................................... 23:3, 60
Lacrois, Thibault ......................................... 23:1, 44
Ladet, Bruno ............................................... 23:1, 29
Lagarce, J ean-Luc
Le Bain ................................................... 23:3, 41
Courbet Model Proudhon ...................... 23:3, 41
Jetais dans la maison ............................ 23:3, 41
Les Rgles du svoirvivre ...................... 23:3, 45
Lagarde, Ludovic
Un Mag en t ..................................... 23:3, 45
Laim, Stphane .......................................... 23:3, 21
LaMendola, J ulie ......................................... 23:1, 40
Landau, Bernhard ........................................ 23:1, 45
Langhoff, Shermin ...................................... 23:3, 16
Larraaga, Amparo Carlos .............23:1, 34; 23:2, 8
Larregla, Moreno-Torrebo
Luisa Fernanda .................................. 23:3, 835
Latorre, Gabriel ........................................... 23:1, 38
Laudadie, Tony ............................................ 23:1, 12
Lauke, Dirk
97
Alles Opfer ........................................... 23:3, 102
Alter Ford Escort dunkelblau .......... 23:3, 1012
Le Bras, Laurent .......................................... 23:3, 44
Lecat, J ean Guy ............................................. 23:2, 5
Lecca, Marie J eanne .................................... 23:1, 64
Leiacker, J ohannes ...................................... 23:3, 65
Leloutre, Alicia ........................................... 23:2, 24
Lembke, Andreas .......................................... 23:3, 9
Lemtre, J ean-J acques ................................ 23:1, 42
Letts, Tracy
Augist:Osage County ......................... 23:2, 213
Leyrado, J uan .......................................... 23:2, 234
Liberati, Cristina ......................................... 23:3, 71
Liddell, Angelika
El Ano de Ricardo ................................. 23:1, 19
La Casa de la Fuerza ................ 23:1, 15, 1920
Maldito sea el hombre .................. 23:3, 25, 335
Lieshout, J oep van ...................................... 23:3, 61
Lima, Andres ............................23:2, 6; 23:3, 7781
Lima, Felype de .......................................... 23:1, 35
Linehan, Conor ........................................... 23:2, 52
Liska, Pavol ................................................. 23:1, 39
Lizaran, Anna .................................23:2, 811, 213
Ljebek, Carlo ............................................... 23:1, 34
Llamas, Antonio ...........................23:1, 34; 23:2, 34
Lliure Theatre, Barcelona ........... 23:2, 8, 1314, 24
Loaysa, David de .........................23:1, 34; 23:2, 34
Lbel, Gregor .............................................. 23:3, 17
Loher, Dea
Diebe .................................................. 23:1, 378
Lomba, Almunda ......................................... 23:2, 22
Lolov, Sava ................................................. 23:1, 44
London, theatre in ................................. 23:2, 4750
Long, Esa-Matti .......................................... 23:2, 64
Lpez, Carol .................................................. 23:1, 5
Lorca, Federico Garcia
Bodas de sangre ..................................... 23:3, 50
Losier, Michle ........................................... 23:3, 63
Loy, Christoph ................................... 23:3, 60, 656
Lucchetti, Francesc ..................................... 23:1, 10
Lucena, Carlos ............................................ 23:3, 50
Luchini, Fabrice .......................................... 23:3, 37
Ludig, Peter ................................................. 23:1, 44
Lcker, Michael ...........................................23:3, 11
Lukka, Kati ................................................. 23:2, 65
Lumbreras, J uan Antonio ............................ 23:3, 50
Luna, Borja ................................................... 23:2, 5
Luthringer, Christophe ................................ 23:3, 40
Macaigne, Vincent
Au moins jaurai laiss un beau cadaver .... 23:3,
.........................................................................2931
Machaidze, Nino ......................................... 23:1, 60
Machi, Carmen .........................23:1, 9; 23:3, 78, 80
Mackic, Namic
Salting the Tail ................................. 23:2, 5961
Maclean, Susan ........................................... 23:1, 54
Madrid, theatre in .................23:2, 58; 23:3, 7786
Maeder, Stphane .......................................... 23:3, 9
Maestri, Ambrogio ...................................... 23:1, 60
Maestro, Manuel ......................................... 23:1, 14
Magre, J udith .............................................. 23:1, 26
Magomedgadzjeyev, Timur ......................... 23:1, 22
Mahler, Gustav ............................................ 23:3, 88
Matre, Fabienne ......................................... 23:1, 25
Makovskiu, Maika ...................................... 23:3, 47
Malakhov, Vladimir .................................... 23:2, 55
Maltman, Christopher ............................. 23:3, 634
Mamet, David ............................................. 23:2, 24
Manet, Edouard ........................................... 23:1, 34
Manrique, J ulio ..........................23:2, 246; 23:1, 6
Manteiga, Rosa ........................................... 23:3, 82
Manuel, Clment ..................................... 23:1, 278
Manzel, Dagmar .......................................... 23:2, 58
Marchand, J acques ...................................... 23:1, 44
Mars, Silvia ........................................... 23:3, 823
Margolis, J ohn ........................................... 23:3, 107
Marrale, J orge ......................................... 23:2, 234
Marsol, Toni ................................................ 23:2, 16
Marthaler, Christoph ................................... 23:1, 41
Papperlapapp ..................................... 23:1, 156
Riesenbutzbach .................................. 23:1, 446
Schutz vor der Zukunft ....................... 23:1, 178
Martn, Carlos ......................................... 23:1, 378
Martinez, J ordi .........................23:1, 123; 23:3, 50
Martinez, Miguel ......................................... 23:3, 82
Martinez, Norbert .......................................... 23:1, 6
Martirossian, Tigran .................................... 23:1, 66
Matadero, Madrid ......................................... 23:2, 6
Mattila, Karita ............................................. 23:1, 59
May, Ignacio Garca
Los coleccionistas ................................ 23:2, 5, 7
Mayenburg, Marius von
Der Hliche .......................................... 23:3, 42
McDonagh, Sean ......................................... 23:3, 20
McVikar, David ........................................... 23:2, 17
Mecklenburg, theatre in ................................ 23:3, 8
Medvedev, Alexander ................................. 23:1, 63
Menoret, Laurent ......................................... 23:1, 29
Mesa, Raquel ................................................. 23:2, 7
Messian, Olivier .......................................... 23:3, 44
Mestres, J osep Maria ................................ 23:1, 89
Meyer, Henry .............................................. 23:3, 15
Meyer, Markus ............................................ 23:1, 40
Michels, Thomas Schulte ............................ 23:1, 62
Micol, Pino .................................................. 23:3, 71
Mikisch, Stefan ........................................... 23:1, 52
98
Milanov, Zinka ............................................ 23:1, 59
Millar, Kristopher ........................................ 23:2, 55
Miller, Arthur
All My Sons ........................................ 23:3, 456
The Crucible ....................................... 23:3, 923
Death of a Salesman ........... 23:2, 34; 23:3, 202
Miller, J onathan .......................................... 23:2, 17
Minchmayr, Birgit ....................................... 23:3, 66
Minkowski, Marc ........................................ 23:3, 63
Mir, Pau..................................................... 23:1, 13
Mironov, Yevgeny ....................................... 23:3, 70
Mirovna, Maria ........................................... 23:3, 70
Mishima, Yukio ............................................. 23:1, 5
Mitchell, Katie .............................. 23:3, 256, 357
Mnouchkine, Ariane .............................. 23:1, 3942
Moe, J on Refsdal ........................................ 23:2, 59
Molaro, Sandrine ......................................... 23:3, 40
Molire
The Miser ............................................... 23:1, 34
Molina, Oscar .............................................. 23:2, 22
Monaghan, Aaron ........................................ 23:2, 52
Moncls, Sandra ....................................... 23:2, 205
Montero, Rebecca ....................................... 23:3, 78
Montesinos, Guillermo ........................... 23:1, 346
Mooshammer, Helmut ................................ 23:1, 38
Moral, Ignacio del
Mientras dios duerme .............................. 23:2, 5
Morales, Mara ............................................ 23:3, 78
Moreno, Anabel ........................................... 23:3, 47
Moreno, Pedro ............................................. 23:3, 84
Moss, Bernd ................................................ 23:1, 38
Mousselet, Anne .................................... 23:2, 60, 62
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeau
Cos fan tutte ...................................... 23:3, 624
The Marriage of Figaro .................... 23:1, 589
Mhleck, Sonja ........................................... 23:1, 56
Mlheim Theatre Days........................ 23:3, 92100
Mller, Heiner
Prometu ................................................... 23:1, 5
Mller, Michael
ber die Grenze ist nur ein Schritt .... 23:3, 967
MuellerBrachmann, Hanno ....................... 23:2, 54
MllerElmau, Markwart ........................... 23:1, 38
Munich, theatre in ..............23:1, 5760; 23:1, 356
Munich Festival, Germany .................... 23:3, 5661
Munn, Pep ................................................. 23:3, 82
Muoz, Gloria ............................................. 23:3, 46
Murf, Mikel ................................................ 23:2, 52
Murnau, F.W.
Faust .................................................. 23:3, 423
Murray, Mary .............................................. 23:2, 52
Muto, Robert ................................................. 23:2, 7
Mller, Torge ............................................... 23:1, 54
Nadj, J oseph ................................................ 23:1, 15
Naidu, Ann Katrin ....................................... 23:1, 62
Nrquez, Aurea ............................................23:2, 11
Natrella, Laurent ....................................... 23:3, 106
Nature theatre of Oklahoma
Life and Times ............... 23:1, 3940; 23:3, 378
Romeo and Juliet .................................... 23:1, 39
Nauzyciel, Arthur
Jan Karski ......................................... 23:3, 258
Neilson, Anthony
Penetrator ............................................. 23:1, 25
Nekroius, Eimuntas ............................. 23:3, 6976
Nelsons, Andris ........................................... 23:1, 52
Neuenfels, Hans .......................23:1, 57; 23:1, 512
Neumann, Bert .............................23:1, 48; 23:1, 42
Niel, Nathalie .............................................. 23:1, 44
Niepel, Ulrich .............................................. 23:1, 54
Nitsch, Hermann ..................................... 23:3, 578
Nolan, Rory ................................................. 23:2, 52
Norn, Lars
Bobby Fischer Lives in Pasadena .......... 23:3, 43
Norway, theatre in ................................. 23:2, 5962
Nyffer, Cristina .......................................... 23:2, 56
Oberammergau Passion Play ................ 23:1, 6772
O'Brien, Ciaran ........................................... 23:2, 52
Ochandiano, Amelia ...............23:3, 81223:3, 803
Oest, J ohann Adam ..................................... 23:1, 49
Ofczarek, Nicholas ...................................... 23:3, 66
Olivares, Gabriel ......................................... 23:1, 34
Olivier, Flavio ............................................. 23:2, 16
Olivier, Laurence ........................................ 23:3, 71
Olle, Alex .................................................. 23:1, 78
Oll, J oan .................................................... 23:3, 45
Olmos, Luis ................................................. 23:3, 83
Omedes, Mariona ........................................ 23:3, 84
Ordez, Marcos ......................................... 23:1, 12
Orff, Carl
Trionfo di Afrodite .................................. 23:1, 61
Osborne, J ohn
Look Back in Anger ................................ 23:3, 94
Oslo, theatre in ...................................... 23:2, 5962
Osten, Manfred ........................................... 23:3, 68
Ostermeier, Thomas .................................... 23:3, 43
Otto, Anne Sophie von ................................ 23:2, 17
Pabst, Peter .................................................. 23:3, 59
Palo, J ukkaPekka ................................ 23:2, 63, 65
Paris, theatre in ...............23:1, 3946; 23:3, 10510
Pasqual, Llus ..................23:1, 5; 23:2, 22; 23:3, 50
Patio, Baltasar ........................................... 23:3, 48
Paulmann, Annette ...................................... 23:1, 34
Pawlotsky, Marie ......................................... 23:1, 44
Payne, Andrew
Squash ................................................ 23:1, 278
99
Peduzzi, Riccardo ....................................... 23:1, 59
Pedrero, Paloma
El color de agosto .................................... 23:2, 7
En la otra habitacin ............................... 23:2, 7
Pelly, Laurent ........................................ 23:3, 1056
Pea, Vicky ................................................. 23:3, 46
Perea, Fran .............................................. 23:3, 456
Perceval, Luc ............................................... 23:1, 34
Prez, Alcia .............................................23:2, 811
Peters, Brigitte ............................................... 23:3, 9
Peters, Ulrich ............................................... 23:1, 61
Petersamer, Alexandra ................................ 23:1, 56
Pet, Kata .................................................... 23:1, 44
Petras, Armin
We Are Blood ...................................... 23:3, 934
Petrement, J ean ........................................... 23:3, 42
Petritsch, Barbara .........................23:1, 49; 23:3, 18
Philipe, Grard ............................................ 23:3, 71
Picault, Adeline
Bats denfance ........................................ 23:3, 41
Pietiinen, Pietu .......................................... 23:2, 65
Piollet, Marc ................................................ 23:2, 20
Pineau, Patrick ........................................ 23:3, 269
Pirandello, Luigi
Six Characters in Search of an Author .. 23:2, 27
Pla, Pilar ...................................................... 23:1, 13
Plana, Raffel ................................................ 23:2, 14
Planas, Kiko ................................................ 23:2, 22
Platel, Alain ................................................. 23:1, 22
Platte, Ozgr ................................................. 23:3, 9
Plou, Alfonso........................................... 23:1, 378
Poe, Edgar Allen ..................................... 23:3, 478
Poelnitz, Christine von ................................ 23:1, 49
Pogner, Veit ................................................. 23:1, 55
Pohjola, Verneri ........................................... 23:2, 65
Poitreneau, Laurent ..................................... 23:3, 27
Poland, theatre in ........................................ 23:1, 63
Poleymat, Manuel ....................................... 23:2, 46
Pollesch, Ren ............................................. 23:1, 42
Pommerat, J ol
Cercles/Fictions ..................................... 23:3, 45
Le Petit Champeron Rouge .................... 23:3, 45
Ponnelle, J eanPierre .............................. 23:3, 623
Poplavskaya, Marina ................................... 23:2, 17
Portacelli, Carne
Prometeu .................................................. 23:1, 5
Portail, Laurence ......................................... 23:1, 30
Pou, J osep Maria ..................................... 23:2, 234
Pountny, David ............................................ 23:1, 64
Poza, Nathalie ............................................... 23:2, 7
Pratt, Manuel
Algrie, Contingent 1956 ....................... 23:1, 27
Prieto, Alejandra ......................................... 23:1, 35
Prieto, J oel ................................................... 23:3, 65
Prohaska, Anna ..................................... 23:3, 63, 65
Prokofev, Sergei
The Love of Three Oranges ................ 23:2, 578
Puccini, Giacomo
Tosca ............................................... 23:1, 5960
Pucher, Stefan ......................................... 23:3, 202
Pucnik, Andrea ............................................ 23:3, 44
Py, Olivier ........................................... 23:3, 10910
Pye, Tom ..................................................... 23:3, 55
Quesne, Philippe
Big Bang ............................................. 23:1, 234
RablStadler, Helga .................................... 23:3, 62
Raczkowski, Krzysztof ................................. 23:3, 8
Rafaelli, Bruno .......................................... 23:3, 105
Rfols, Mingo ............................................... 23:1, 8
Rambert, Pascal
Clture damour ..................................... 23:3, 25
Ramon, Clara de ...................................... 23:2, 212
Ramos, Philipe ............................................ 23:3, 82
Randes, Diogenes ........................................ 23:1, 54
Ra, Ferran ................................................ 23:2, 25
Ratjen, J rg ................................................. 23:3, 18
Rauda, Doa ................................................ 23:3, 78
Rawls, Arnold ............................................. 23:1, 66
Real, Griselidis
Les Combats dune Reine ....................... 23:1, 26
Recklinghausen Theatre Festival, Germany .... 23:3,
.............................................................................101
Rehbert, Peter .............................................. 23:2, 62
Reichert, Marek ........................................... 23:1, 56
Reichwald, Matthias ................................... 23:3, 13
Rjon, Chlo ............................................... 23:2, 46
Remy, Greg ................................................. 23:1, 27
Renom, Rosa ............................................... 23:2, 22
Ress, Ulrich ................................................. 23:1, 59
Rezenbrink, Ursula ..................................... 23:3, 65
RiberaVall, Xavier ..................................... 23:3, 84
Ribos, J osep .......................................... 23:2, 18, 20
Ricci, Renzo ................................................ 23:3, 71
Ricart, Santi ................................................. 23:2, 13
Ricart, Xavier .................................23:2, 25; 23:1, 6
Richter, Angelika ........................................ 23:1, 34
Rigola, Alex ................23:1, 5; 23:2, 134; 23:3, 45
Tragdia ................................................. 23:3, 45
Riippa, J oonas ............................................. 23:2, 65
Rimini Protokoll...................................23:3, 11, 103
Rissanen, Aki .............................................. 23:2, 65
Rittberger, Kevin
Kassandra .......................................... 23:3, 956
Rivas, J os Luis .......................................... 23:2, 28
Rizzi, Carlo ................................................. 23:1, 66
Rocamora, Valenti ......................................... 23:3, 8
100
Rocha, Victor Ullate ................................ 23:1, 346
Rockstroh, Falk ........................................... 23:1, 49
Rodrguez, J uan ........................................... 23:3, 84
Rggla, Kathrin
Die Beteiligten ................................. 23:3, 1820
Rttgerkamp, Anja ................................ 23:2, 60, 62
Rschmann, Dorothea ................................. 23:3, 65
Rojas, Fernando de
La Celestina ........................................... 23:2, 33
Rome, theatre in .................................... 23:3, 6976
Romero, Constantino .................................. 23:2, 27
Romero, Federico ........................................ 23:3, 83
Rose, J rgen ................................................ 23:1, 58
Rosich, Marc ................................23:2, 11; 23:3, 77
Ross, Felice ................................................. 23:2, 54
Roth, Detlef ................................................. 23:1, 54
Rousseau, Anne ........................................... 23:3, 42
Rubbins, Raphal ........................................ 23:2, 60
Ruata, Toms ............................................... 23:1, 38
Rucinski, Artur ............................................ 23:1, 63
Rudolph, Sebastian ..................................... 23:3, 68
Ruegemer, Stephan ..................................... 23:2, 53
Ruhr Triennale, Germany .......................... 23:3, 101
Rutherford, J ames ....................................... 23:1, 54
Salzburg Festival, Austria ....................... 23:3, 628
Sa, Alexandro ...................................... 23:3, 78, 80
Sacc, Roberto ............................................ 23:1, 63
Senz, Miguel ............................................... 23:1, 8
Saks, Gidon ................................................. 23:2, 55
Salino, Brigitte ............................................ 23:1, 15
Snchez, Ricardo ........................................... 23:2, 8
SnchezGrcia, Aitana ................................ 23:2, 5
Sandu, Adrien .............................................. 23:1, 62
Sangar, Bakary ........................................ 23:3, 108
San J uan, Beatriz ........................................... 23:2, 7
Sanjust, Filippo ........................................... 23:2, 53
Sanmarti, Alex ............................................. 23:2, 20
Santos, Carles
Chicha Montenegro Gallery .............. 23:2, 146
Sanz, J uan ............................................... 23:3, 467
Sanzol, Alfredo
Delicades ............................. 23:1, 102; 23:3, 48
Dias estupendos ............................... 23:3, 4850
Sarkiss, J rgen ............................................ 23:3, 15
Sbragia, Gioacarlo ....................................... 23:3, 71
Scaparro, Mauricio ...................................... 23:3, 71
Schad, Stephan ............................................ 23:1, 48
Schade, Michael .......................................... 23:2, 53
Scheele, Heike ............................................. 23:1, 53
Scheumann, Markus .................................... 23:3, 20
Schiano, Giampiero ................................. 23:1, 123
Schiller, Friedrich
Don Carlos ......................................... 23:3, 124
Kabale und Liebe ................................... 23:3, 17
Die Ruber ............................................. 23:3, 17
Schimmelpfennig, Roland
The Golden Dragon .......... 23:1, 489; 23:3, 101
Schinkel, Karl Friedrich .......................... 23:2, 534
Schlingensief, Christoph ..................... 23:3, 1, 224
Via Intolleranza II ............................. 23:3, 224
Schmeltzer, Bjrn ........................................ 23:3, 26
Schmidt, Christian ....................................... 23:3, 64
Schneider, Claudia ...................................... 23:2, 16
Schn, Ludwig ............................................ 23:2, 46
Schories, Hartmut ....................................... 23:1, 48
Schrader, Alex ............................................. 23:3, 63
Schrott, Erwin ........................23:2, 18, 20; 23:3, 65
Schubert, Franz ........................................... 23:3, 94
Schtz, J ohannes ........................................... 23:3, 5
Schuster, Michela ........................................ 23:3, 65
Schwanewilms, Anne .................................. 23:3, 65
Schwaninger, Wolfgang .............................. 23:1, 62
Schwartz, Lena .............................................23:3, 11
Schweintek, Siggi ....................................... 23:3, 20
Scob, Edith .................................................. 23:1, 44
Scola, Ettore ................................................ 23:1, 31
Secuencia 3, Spain .................................. 23:2, 336
Sguin, J eanClaude ................................... 23:1, 29
Sellent, J oan ................................................ 23:2, 22
Selvas, David .............................................. 23:2, 25
Serrano, Mariano de Paco ........................... 23:1, 33
Sevenich, Stphen ......................................... 23:1, 62
Sevilola, Toni .............................................. 23:1, 10
Shakespeare, William .................................. 23:3, 47
Hamlet ................23:1, 12; 23:2, 26; 23:3, 2931
Henry IV l and 2, Henry V ............... 23:3, 7781
King Lear ............................................23:3, 112
A Midsummer Nights Dream .... 23:1, 31; 23:3, 5
Romeo and Juliet ...................................... 23:3, 5
Titus Andronicus............................... 23:2, 2930
She She Pop
Testament ............................................23:3, 112
Shjema, Adrian ............................................ 23:1, 62
Short, Kevin ................................................ 23:1, 66
Simaga, Lonine ............................... 23:3, 106, 109
Simons, J ohan ............................................. 23:3, 95
Sinisterra, J os Sanchez .................23:1, 33; 23:1, 7
Siri, Maria J os ........................................... 23:1, 66
Sitruk, Olivier ............................................. 23:1, 29
Skovhus, Bo ................................................ 23:3, 63
Smeds, Kristian ....................................... 23:2, 636
Solbah, Maik ................................................23:3, 11
Soler, Ann ...................................................... 23:1, 7
Soler, Cristbal ............................................ 23:3, 83
Soler, Esteve
Contra la democrcia ............................ 23:3, 45
101
Soler, Llus .................................................. 23:3, 50
Sollich, Robert ............................................ 23:1, 54
Sophocles
Antigone ................................................. 23:3, 44
Sotnikova, Evgeniya ................................... 23:1, 59
Spain, theatre in ................23:1, 538; 23:2, 1138;
.................................................. 23:3, 4552, 7786
See also Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza
Spuck, Christian
Sleepers' Chamber ................................. 23:1, 61
Squarciapino, Franco .................................. 23:2, 27
Stazinger, Elizabeth .................................... 23:2, 56
Steiger, Michaela ........................................ 23:3, 20
Stein, Peter .................................................. 23:3, 14
Steffens, Tilo ............................................... 23:1, 54
Stemann, Nicolas .....................23:1, 50; 23:3, 678
Stolzing, Walther von .................................. 23:1, 54
Strauss, J ohann
Ariadne aux Naxos ........................... 23:3, 5960
Die Frau ohne Schatten ..................... 23:3, 656
Strauss, Richard
Die Liebe der Danae ........................ 23:3, 8790
Stravinsky, Igor
The Rake's Progress ........................... 23:2, 545
Strehler, Giorgio .......................................... 23:3, 71
Strindberg, August
Miss Julie ................................. 23:3, 256, 357
Stuttgart, theatre in .............................. 23:3, 99100
Sundermann, Laura ......................................23:3, 11
Swandsale, Lois .......................................... 23:2, 55
Szcesniak, Malgorzata ................................ 23:2, 54
Szwarcer, Ricardo ..........................23:1, 5; 23:3, 45
Taillet, Pascal
Presence ................................................. 23:3, 44
Talbach, Katharina ........................................ 23:3, 5
Tamar, Iano ................................................. 23:1, 66
Tamayo, J os ........................................... 23:3, 501
Tarbet, Andrew .............................................. 23:1, 6
Tars, Ramon .............................................. 23:2, 29
Terzian, Sesede ........................................... 23:3, 17
Thalheimer, Michael ................................... 23:1, 34
Thannen, Reinhard von der ......................... 23:1, 52
Thevenot, Benoit ......................................... 23:1, 30
Thomas, Indra..23:1,
66
Thomas, J ess ............................................... 23:1, 58
Tietjen, Marie Rosa ......................................23:3, 11
Tilling, Camilla ........................................... 23:1, 59
Timar, Alain .................................23:1, 25; 23:3, 39
Tkachuk, Yevgeny ....................................... 23:3, 70
Trauttmansdorff, Victoria ............................ 23:1, 48
Toledo, Guillermo ......................................... 23:2, 7
Torres, J acob ............................................... 23:3, 51
Totcachir, Claudio ....................................... 23:3, 45
Townsend, Tamzin ........................................ 23:2, 8
Triola, Albert ............................................... 23:2, 22
Tuma, AnneSofe ....................................... 23:3, 64
Turga, Ana Isabel ........................................ 23:3, 78
Tusell, Anna ................................................ 23:1, 36
Twist, Basil ............................................... 23:3, 107
Uhl, Manuela ............................................... 23:3, 88
Ulloa, Doa Ins ......................................... 23:1, 38
Uria-Monzn, Batrice ............................... 23:2, 20
Valchua, J uraj .............................................. 23:1, 59
Valle-Inclan, Ramn
Luces de Bohemia .............................. 23:3, 502
Valtinoni, Pierangelo
The Snow Queen ................................ 23:2, 567
Van Acker, Cindy ........................................ 23:1, 15
Van Durme, Vanessa
Gardenia ........................................... 23:1, 223
Van Horn, Christian .................................... 23:1, 59
Van Laeke, Frank ........................................ 23:1, 22
Vargas, Ral ................................................ 23:2, 29
Vas, Francisco ............................................. 23:2, 18
Vzque, Pablo ............................................. 23:3, 49
Velasco, Manuela ........................................ 23:3, 46
Velat, Carles ................................................ 23:2, 21
Vella, Vronique........................................ 23:3, 105
Ventris, Christopher .................................... 23:1, 54
Verdi, Giuseppe
Aida ................................. 23:1, 646; 23:3, 545
A Masked Ball ........................................ 23:3, 54
Verne, J ules ........................................... 23:1, 3942
Veronese, Daniel ............................23:1, 5; 23:3, 46
Verrue, Stphane ......................................... 23:3, 40
Vicente, Sandra ........................................... 23:2, 27
Viebrock, Anna ............................23:1, 45; 23:1, 15
Vienne, Gisle
I Apologize ....................................... 23:2, 5962
Jerk ......................................................... 23:2, 60
This is How You Will Disappear ............ 23:1, 23
ViennePollak, Dorothe ............................ 23:2, 60
Vierboom, Moritz ........................................ 23:1, 40
Vila, Oriol ................................................... 23:2, 25
Villa, Ana .................................................... 23:1, 35
Villamil, Vando ........................................... 23:2, 24
Villarasau, Emma .................................... 23:2, 213
Villazon, Rolando ....................................... 23:1, 60
Villegas, Ernest ............................................. 23:1, 7
Vincent, Gilles ............................................. 23:3, 40
Vitello, Giovanni ......................................... 23:1, 29
Vivarium Studio
Big Bang ................................................ 23:1, 15
Vogt, Florian................................................ 23:1, 55
Vllm, Gesine ............................................. 23:1, 53
102
Vrtler, Felix ............................................... 23:1, 34
Voltaire
Oedipe .................................................... 23:1, 29
Vontobel, Roger ...................................... 23:3, 124
Voss, Manfred ............................................. 23:3, 59
Wagner, Friedericke .................................... 23:3, 20
Wagner, Katharina ............................... 23:1, 3, 537
Wagner, Richard
Lohengrin ........................................... 23:1, 512
Der Meistersinger ............... 23:1, 546; 23:3, 53
Parsifal ............................................... 23:1, 523
Tannhuser .............23:1, 567; 23:3, 6123:3, 60
Wagner, Wieland ......................................... 23:1, 56
Walsh, J ack.................................................. 23:2, 52
Warner, Keith .......................................... 23:3, 536
Warlikowski, Krzysztof .............................. 23:2, 55
Warner, Leo
Kristin, nach Frulein Julie ..... 23:3, 256, 357
Warsaw, theatre in ....................................... 23:1, 63
Watson, Claire ............................................. 23:1, 57
Webb, Philip ................................................ 23:1, 66
Weber, J acques ............................................ 23:1, 44
Wedekind, Frank
Lulu .................................................... 23:2, 456
Wehlisch, Kathrin.......................................... 23:3, 7
Weigle, Sebastian ........................................ 23:1, 55
Weill, Kurt ................................................. 23:3, 105
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny 23:1,
612;
..................................................................... 23:3, 88
Weinberg, Mieczyslaw
Die Passagierin ................................. 23:1, 624
The Portrait ........................................... 23:1, 64
Weirs, J udith
Achterbahn ......................................... 23:3, 556
Weiss, Isa ...................................................... 23:3, 9
Weiss, Othmar ............................................. 23:1, 68
Weisz, Rachel .............................................. 23:3, 46
Wetzel, Daniel ........................................... 23:3, 103
Wexler, Zohar .............................................. 23:1, 29
Willi, Magda ......................................... 23:3, 13, 16
Williams, Tennessee
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ........................ 23:2, 135
A Streetcar Named Desire .... 23:2, 5; 23:3, 467,
10710
Windfuhr, Ulrich ......................................... 23:3, 89
Winter, Olaf ................................................. 23:3, 64
Wittenborn, Michael ................................... 23:1, 34
Wolf, Susanne ............................................. 23:1, 47
Worral, Kristin ............................................ 23:1, 39
Yang, Guang ................................................ 23:1, 66
Yeses ....................................................... 23:2, 313
Yourcenar, Marguerite................................. 23:3, 70
Youn, Samuel .............................................. 23:1, 52
Zadek, Peter .................................23:1, 35; 23:2, 45
Zapata, J os Manuel .................................... 23:3, 84
Zaragoza, theatre in .........23:1, 367; 23:2, 30.368
Zeh, J ulie
Corpus Delecti ..................................... 23:3, 101
Zehetgruber, Martin .................................... 23:3, 57
Zeller, Felicia .......................................... 23:3, 923
Zeppenfeld, Georg ...................................... 23:1, 52
Ziolkowska, Patrycia ................................... 23:3, 68
iek, Slavoj ............................................... 23:3, 20
Zorilla, J os
Don Juan Tenorio ............................... 23:1, 378
Zurich, theatre in ..................................... 23:3, 202
Zweig, Stefan .............................................. 23:1, 41
103
MARVIN CARLSON, Sidney C. Cohn Professor of Theatre at the City University of New York Graduate Center,
is the author of many articles on theatrical theory and European theatre history, and dramatic literature. He is the
1994 recipient of the George J ean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism and the 1999 recipient of the American
Society for Theatre Research Distinguished Scholar Award. His book The Haunted Stage: The Theatre as Memory
Machine, which came out from University of Michigan Press in 2001, received the Callaway Prize. In 2005 he
received an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens. His most recent book is Theatre and Performance
in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, with Khalid Amine.
LEGRACE BENSON is Professor Emerita of the State University of New York and currently directs the Arts of
Haiti Research Project. She is Associate Editor of Journal of Haitian Studies and has published numerous articles
and book chapters on the arts of Haiti, receiving the Award for Excellence from the Haitian Studies Association in
2008. With a PhD in visual perception and the arts, she is especially interested in how performances are created
and perceived in theatrical spaces. Her forthcoming book is Arts and Religions of Haiti: How the Sun Illuminates
Under Cover of Darkness (Randle 2012).
MARIA M. DELGADO is Professor of Theatre & Screen Arts at Queen Mary University of London and co-
editor of Contemporary Theatre Review. Her books include"Other" Spanish Theatres: Erasure and Inscription
on the Twentieth Century Spanish Stage (MUP 2003), Federico Garca Lorca (Routledge, 2008), Contemporary
European Theatre Directors (Routledge, 2010), three co-edited volumes for Manchester University Press, and two
collections of translations for Methuen. Her co-edited volume, A History of the Theatre in Spain, has recently been
published by Cambridge University Press.
STEVE EARNEST is a Professor of Theatre at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He
has previously published articles and reviews in Western European Stages, Theatre Journal, Theatre Symposium,
New Theatre Quarterly, and Opera Journal. A practitioner as well as a writer, he is a member of AEA, SAG, and
SSDC.
ROY KIFT is a playwright, currently living in Dsseldorf (on which he has also written a travel guide: Dsseldorf,
Aachen and the Lower Rhine). His holocaust play "Camp Comedy" (in The Theatre of the Holocaust, vol. 2, ed.
Robert Skloot, University of Wisconsin Press) is well-known throughout the academic world. Plans are afoot for
a production in Canberra, Australia in late 2012 and Paris in 2013. It has been translated in German, French, and
Polish. One of his latest works is an adaptation of J anne Teller's "Nothing." For more see: www.roy-kift.com.
CHARLOTT NEUHAUSER has been working as a dramaturg at several institutional theatres in Sweden such as
Riksteatern and Helsingborgs Stadsteater, Dalateatern, and Regionteatern Blekinge Kronoberg. She is currently
working on her dissertation in Performance Studies about new Swedish playwriting. She holds an MFA in
dramaturgy from the Yale School of Drama.
BRIAN RHINEHART is the recipient of a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar Award to conduct research and develop
a co-production in Braunschweig, Germany. He has worked as a freelance theatre director in Florida and New
York for the last seventeen years. In the summer he works with the company "Forum for Arts and Culture" on
their annual production in Heersum, Germany, titled Heersumer Sommerspiele. In 2007, Brian assistant-directed
the frst national tour of the Broadway musical The Wedding Singer, as well as its Atlantic City production in
Harrah's Casino, 2008. He was named "Best Director" of the 2001 New York International Fringe Festival for the
play Einstein's Dreams, was a member of the 2006 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and a Resident Artist
of the Kraine Theater from 2002 to 2005. As an actor he has performed in over ffty productions, and the plays he
has written or co-written have been seen in the New York International Fringe Festival and a variety of Off-Off
Broadway venues. Brian is an internationally published scholar on the subject of contemporary German theatre,
and is co-author of a book, titled All Joking Aside: The Art and Craft of Comedy, to be published in 2012. He
holds an M.F.A. in Directing from The Actors Studio Drama School, and a PhD in English from the University of
Contributors
104
Florida. Brian teaches and has taught acting, directing, script-Analysis, and playwriting at various schools in the
New York City area, such as The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, Baruch College, Marymount
Manhattan College, Eugene Lang College (New School University), and Kean University.
J OAN TEMPLETON is Professor Emerita of Long Island University. She has also taught at the University of
Paris (Sorbonne), the University of Tours, and the University of Limoges. She has published articles on Ibsen
and other modern dramatists in PMLA, Modern Drama, Scandinavian Studies, Ibsen Studies, and other journals
and is the author of three books, including Ibsen's Women (Cambridge UP, 1997; paperback 2001) and Munch's
Ibsen: A Painter's Visions of a Playwright (University of Washington Press, 2008). She has served as the President
of the International Ibsen Committee and the President of the Ibsen Society of America and edits Ibsen News
and Comment. She has been an NEH Research Fellow, a two-time Fulbright Fellow, and a two-time American-
Scandinavian Foundation Fellow.
PHILIPPA WEHLE is the author of Le Thtre populaire selon Jean Vilar, Drama Contemporary: France and Act
French: Contemporary Plays from France. A Professor Emerita of French and Drama Studies at Purchase College,
SUNY, she writes widely on contemporary theatre and performance. She has translated numerous contemporary
French language plays. Her most recent translation is of Alexis Ragougeneau's "Kaiser," February 2012, thanks to
a grant from Beaumarchais/SACD. She is a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.
DAVID WILLINGER is Professor of Theatre at The City College, CUNY, and is also on the faculty of the PhD
Program in Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is author of many anthologies of Belgian drama translated to
English, all with extensive critical introductions, including: An Anthology of Contemporary Belgian Drama, 1970-
1984 (Whitston), Hugo Claus: Works for the Theatre (CASTA), Ghelderode (Host), Three Fin-de-Sicle Farces
(Peter Lang), Theatrical Gestures from the Belgian Avant-Garde (Peter Lang), and The Sacrament and Other
Plays of Forbidden Love by Hugo Claus (Susquehanna), and A Maeterlinck Reader in collaboration with Daniel
Gerould. He is currently working on a book about Ivo Van Hove. His articles have appeared in many encyclopedias
and such publications as The Drama Review, The Contemporary Theatre Review, Symposium, and Textyles. He has
received awards from the B.A.E.F., the N.E.A., the N.E.H., the Fulbright Foundation, Drama-Logue, the J erome
Foundation, a Rifkind Center Award, as well as an award for Rayonnement des Lettres l'Etranger from the
Belgian Ministry of Culture. He is also a theatre director, playwright, and recently put on Hanoch Levin's Winter
Wedding at TNC.
PHYLLIS ZATLIN is Professor Emerita of Spanish and former coordinator of translator-interpreter training at
Rutgers, the State University of New J ersey. She served as Associate Editor of Estreno from 1992-2001 and as
editor of the translation series ESTRENO Plays from 1998-2005. Her translations that have been published and/
or staged include plays by J .L. Alonso de Santos, J ean-Paul Daumas, Eduardo Manet, Francisco Nieva, Itziar
Pascual, Paloma Pedrero, and J aime Salom. Her most recent book is Theatrical Translation and Film Adaptation:
A Practitioners View. See www.rci.rutgers.edu/~zatlin
105
Four Plays From North Africa
Translated and edited by Marvin Carlson
As the rich tradition of modern Arabic theatre has recently begun to
be recognized by the Western theatre community, an important area
within that tradition is still under-represented in existing anthologies
and scholarship. That is the drama from the Northwest of Africa, the
region known in Arabic as the Maghreb. We hope that this rst English
collection of drama from this region will stimulate further interest in
the varied and stimulating drama being produced here. It engages,
in a fascinating and original way, with such important current issues
as the struggle for the rights of women and workers, post-colonial
tensions between Maghreb and Europe, and the challenges faced in
Europe by immigrants from the Arab world.
This volume contains four plays based on the Oedipus legend by four
leading dramatists of the Arab world. Tawq Al-Hakim's King Oedipus,
Ali Ahmed Bakathir's The Tragedy of Oedipus, Ali Salim's The Comedy
of Oedipus, and Walid Ikhlasi's Oedipus as well as Al-Hakim's preface
to his Oedipus on the subject of Arabic tragedy, a preface on translating
Bakathir by Dalia Basiouny, and a general introduction by the editor.
An awareness of the rich tradition of modern Arabic theatre has only
recently begun to be felt by the Western theatre community, and we hope
that this collection will contribute to that growing awareness.
The Arab Oedipus
Edited by Marvin Carlson
Price US $20.00 each plus shipping ($3 within the USA, $6 international)
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
This volume contains four modern plays from the Maghreb: Abdelkader Alloula's The Veil and
Fatima Gallaire's House of Wives, both Algerian, Jalila Baccar's Araberlin from Tunisia, and Tayeb
Saddiki's The Folies Berbers from Morocco.
Please make payments in US dollars payable to : The Graduate Center Foundation Inc.
Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
Visit our website at: www.www.thesegalcenter.org Contact: mestc@gc.cuny.edu or 212-817-1868
106
Quick Change: Theatre Essays and Translations
Written and translated by Daniel Gerould
Quick Change is full of surprises. It is a nicely seasoned tossed-salad of a book
concocted by an ironic cookmeister with a sometimes wild imagination. And
how many quick changes has he wrought in this book of 28 pieces. The writ-
ings range from translations of letters and plays to short commentaries to fully-
developed essays. The topics bounce from Mayakovsky to Shakespeare, Kantor
to Lunacharsky, Herodotus to Gerould's own play, Candaules, Commissioner,
Gorky to Grotowski, Shaw to Mroek, Briusov to Witkacy. From ancient Greeks
to Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe, from pre-revolutionary Russia to the
Soviet Union, from France and England to Poland. From an arcane discussion of
medicine in theatre a "libertine" puppet play from 19th century France.

Richard Schechner
Quick Change: Theatre Essays and Translations, a volume of previously uncollected writings by Daniel Gerould
from Comparative Literature, Modern Drama, PAJ, TDR, SEEP, yale/theater and other journals. It includes essays
about Polish, Russian and French theatre, theories of melodrama and comedy, historical and medical simula-
tions, Symbolist drama, erotic puppet theatre, comedie rosse at the Grand Guignol, Witkacy's Doubles, Villiers de
L'Isle Adam, Mrozek, Battleship Potemkin, and other topics. Translations include Andrzej Bursa's Count Caglio-
stro's Animals, Henry Monnier's The Student and the Tart, and Oscar Mtnier's Little Bugger and Meat-Ticket.
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
Please make payments in US dollars payable to : The Graduate Center Foundation Inc.
Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
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Price US $20.00 each plus shipping ($3 within the USA, $6 international)
107
Barcelona Plays:
A Collection of New Works by Catalan Playwrights
Translated and edited by Marion Peter Holt and Sharon G. Feldman
The new plays in this collection represent outstanding playwrights of three generations.
Benet i Jornet won his rst drama award in 1963, when was only twenty-three years old, and
in recent decades he has become Catalonia's leading exponent of thematically challenging
and structurally inventive theatre. His plays have been performed internationally and trans-
lated into fourteen languages, including Korean and Arabic. Sergi Belbel and Llusa Cunill
arrived on the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with distinctive and provocative dra-
matic voices. The actor-director-playwright Pau Mir is a member of yet another generation
that is now attracting favorable critical attention.
Playwrights Before the Fall:
Eastern European Drama in Times of Revolution
Edited by Daniel Gerould.
Playwrights Before the Fall: Eastern European Drama in Times of Revolution contains trans-
lations of Portrait by Sawomir Mroek (PL); Military Secret by Duan Jovanovi (SI); Chicken
Head by Gyrgy Spir (HU); Sorrow, Sorrow, Fear, the Pit and the Rope by Karel Steigerwald
(CZ); and Horses at the Window by Matei Viniec (RO).
martin e. segal theatre center publications
Please make payments in US dollars payable to : The Graduate Center Foundation Inc.
Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
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108
Claudio Tolcachir's Timbre 4
Translated and with an introduction by Jean Graham-Jones
Claudio Tolcachir's Timbre 4 is one of the most exciting companies to emerge from Buenos
Aires's vibrant contemporary theatre scene. The Coleman Family's Omission and Third Wing,
the two plays that put Timbre 4 on the international map, are translated by Jean Graham-Jones
and Elisa Legon.
Four Works for the Theatre by Hugo Claus
Translated and Edited by David Willinger
Hugo Claus is the foremost contemporary writer of Dutch language theatre, poetry, and
prose. Flemish by birth and upbringing, Claus is the author of some ninety plays, novels,
and collections of poetry. He is renowned as an enfant terrible of the arts throughout Europe.
From the time he was afliated with the international art group, COBRA, to his liaison with
pornographic lm star Silvia Kristel, to the celebration of his novel, The Sorrow of Belgium,
Claus has careened through a career that is both scandal-ridden and formidable. Claus
takes on all the taboos of his times.
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
Please make payments in US dollars payable to : The Graduate Center Foundation Inc.
Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
Visit our website at: www.thesegalcenter.org Contact: mestc@gc.cuny.edu or 212-817-1868
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109
Czech Plays: Seven New Works
Edited by Marcy Arlin, Gwynn MacDonald, and Daniel Gerould
Czech Plays: Seven New Works is the rst English-language anthology of Czech plays written
after the 1989 "Velvet Revolution." These seven works explore sex and gender identity,
ethnicity and violence, political corruption, and religious taboos. Using innovative forms
and diverse styles, they tackle the new realities of Czech society brought on by democracy
and globalization with characteristic humor and intelligence.
Jan Fabre Books:
I am a Mistake - 7 Works for the Theatre
The Servant of Beauty - 7 Monologues
Flemish-Dutch theatre artist Jan Fabre has produced works as a performance artist, theatre
maker, choreographer, opera maker, playwright, and visual artist. Our two Fabre books
include: I am a Mistake (2007), Etant Donnes (2000), Little Body on the Wall (1996),
Je suis sang (2001), Angel of Death (2003), and others.
Jan Fabre: Servant of Beauty
and I am a Mistake - 7 Works for the Theatre
Edited and foreword by Frank Hentschker.
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
Please make payments in US dollars payable to : The Graduate Center Foundation Inc.
Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
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110
roMANIA After 2000
Edited by Saviana Stanescu and Daniel Gerould
Translation editors: Saviana Stanescu and Ruth Margraff
This volume represents the first anthology of new Romanian Drama published in the United States and
introduces American readers to compelling playwrights and plays that address resonant issues of a post-
totalitarian society on its way toward democracy and a new European identity. includes the plays: Stop The
Tempo by Gianina Carbunariu, Romania. Kiss Me! by Bogdan Georgescu, Vitamins by Vera Ion, Romania 21 by
tefan Peca, and Waxing West by Saviana Stanescu.
This publication produced in collaboration with the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York and Bucharest.
BAiT epitomizes true international theatrical collaboration, bringing together four of the most important
contemporary playwrights from Buenos Aires and pairing them with four cutting-edge US-based directors and
their ensembles. Throughout a period of one year, playwrights, translator, directors, and actors worked together
to deliver four English-language world premieres at Performance Space 122 in the fall of 2006.
Plays include: Women Dreamt Horses by Daniel Veronese; A Kingdom, A Country or a Wasteland, In the Snow by
Lola Arias; Ex-Antwone by Federico Len; Panic by Rafael Spregelburd. BAiT is a Performance Space 122 Production,
an initiative of Saln Volcn, with the support of Instituto Cervantes and the Consulate General of Argentina in New
York.
Buenos Aires in Translation
Translated and edited by Jean Graham-Jones
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
Please make payments in US dollars payable to : The Graduate Center Foundation Inc.
Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
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111
Josep M. Benet i Jornet, born in Barcelona, is the author of more than forty works for the
stage and has been a leading contributor to the striking revitalization of Catalan theatre
in the post-Franco era. Fleeting, a compelling "tragedy-within-a-play," and Stages, with its
monological recall of a dead and unseen protagonist, rank among his most important plays.
They provide an introduction to a playwright whose inventive experiments in dramatic
form and treatment of provocative themes have made him a major gure in contemporary
European theatre.
Josep M. Benet i Jornet: Two Plays
Translated by Marion Peter Holt
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
Witkiewicz: Seven Plays
Translated and Edited by Daniel Gerould
This volume contains seven of Witkiewicz's most important plays: The Pragmatists, Tumor
Brainiowicz, Gyubal Wahazar, The Anonymous Work, The Cuttlefish, Dainty Shapes and
Hairy Apes, and The Beelzebub Sonata, as well as two of his theoretical essays, "Theoretical
Introduction" and "A Few Words About the Role of the Actor in the Theatre of Pure Form."
Witkiewicz . . . takes up and continues the vein of dream and grotesque fantasy exemplified by
the late Strindberg or by Wedekind; his ideas are closely paralleled by those of the surrealists
and Antonin Artaud which culminated in the masterpieces of the dramatists of the Absurd. . . .
It is high time that this major playwright should become better known in the English-speaking
world. Martin Esslin
Please make payments in US dollars payable to : The Graduate Center Foundation Inc.
Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
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112
Theatre Research Resources in New York City
Sixth Edition, 2007
Editor: Jessica Brater, Senior Editor: Marvin Carlson
Theatre Research Resources in New York City is the most comprehensive catalogue of New York City research
facilities available to theatre scholars. Within the indexed volume, each facility is briefly described including
an outline of its holdings and practical matters such as hours of operation. Most entries include opening
hours, contact information and websites. The listings are grouped as follows: Libraries, Museums, and
Historical Societies; University and College Libraries; Ethnic and Language Associations; Theatre Companies
and Acting Schools; and Film and Other.
This bibliography is intended for scholars, teachers, students, artists, and general readers interested in the
theory and practice of comedy. The keenest minds have been drawn to the debate about the nature of comedy
and attracted to speculation about its theory and practice. For all lovers of comedy Comedy: A Bibliography is
an essential guide and resource, providing authors, titles, and publication data for over a thousand books and
articles devoted to this most elusive of genres.
Comedy: A Bibliography
Editor: Meghan Duffy, Senior Editor: Daniel Gerould
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
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Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY10016-4309
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113
The Heirs of Molire
Translated and Edited by Marvin Carlson
This volume contains four representative French comedies of the period from the death of Molire to the French
Revolution: The Absent-Minded Lover by Jean-Franois Regnard, The Conceited Count by Philippe Nricault
Destouches, The Fashionable Prejudice by Pierre Nivelle de la Chausse, and The Friend of the Laws by Jean-
Louis Laya. Translated in a poetic form that seeks to capture the wit and spirit of the originals, these four plays
suggest something of the range of the Molire inheritance, from comedy of character through the highly popular
sentimental comedy of the mid-eighteenth century, to comedy that employs the Molire tradition for more
contemporary political ends.
This volume contains four of Pixrcourt's most important melodramas: The Ruins of Babylon or Jafar and Zaida, The
Dog of Montargis or The Forest of Bondy, Christopher Columbus or The Discovery of the New World, and Alice or The
Scottish Gravediggers, as well as Charles Nodier's "Introduction" to the 1843 Collected Edition of Pixrcourt's plays
and the two theoretical essays by the playwright, "Melodrama," and "Final Reections on Melodrama."
Pixrcourt furnished the Theatre of Marvels with its most stunning efects, and brought the classic situations of
fairground comedy up-to-date. He determined the structure of a popular theatre which was to last through the 19th
century.
Hannah Winter, The Theatre of Marvels
Pixrcourt: Four Melodramas
Translated and Edited by Daniel Gerould & Marvin Carlson
MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
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Mail Checks or money orders to: The Circulation Manager, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
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Price US $20.00 each plus shipping ($3 within the USA, $6 international)

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