Friday 17 December 2010

Twelfth Night, or What you will by William Shakespeare

We were supposed to see Struwwelpeter yesterday, but a fortunate change of the playing schedule made it possible to see Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or Was ihr wollt. It was a public rehearsal and, as far as I was able to understand from the seats at the far back, the director Matthias Hartmann let us know that what we are going to see will (might?) have nothing to do with the play as it will be shown in six days. I also heard something about four hours, that we might leave after the break, but the actors might not like that and that they were lucky to have the chance to play it in front of an audience.

Feste (the jester, played by Sven-Eric Bechtolf) was opening the play and soon afterwards a piano came swirling on to the stage. They had me from that moment and didn’t lose me until the very end. I won’t dare writing more about the production (I am not sure if I am even allowed to?). Oh, but one more thing. Curio played by Karsten Riedel – in this case though mostly sung by him – framed the play with music (written by Karsten Riedel) reminding me of medieval music brought to the 21st century. And don’t let us forget the lap harp.

Unfortunately I haven’t read the play yet, but I just made sure, that I have material for the Christmas break. Twelfth Night is a comedy about twisted and unfulfilled love (e.g. Orsino played by Fabian Krüger – fantastic). But as always with Shakespeare’s comedies, at some stage it drifts off to become a tragedy – yet not quite. Speaking of comedy, Nicholas Ofczarek plays the drunkard Sir Toby Rülp (Sir Toby Blech in the original), which is great fun.

It is fascinating for me how William Shakespeare’s plays are still entertaining the audience. Needless to say, what we’ve seen yesterday was a 21st century production therefore interpretation of it, but still. For more in depth analysis of Shakespeare, his work and his time you would have to do more research – and the material is abundant.

I already decided during the first half that I want to see the play again. The premiere is on the 22 December at the Burgtheater. Go and see it!

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