Thursday, 14 January 2016

Theater Basel | Junges Haus | Der Fremde (the stranger)

Das junge Haus Theater Basel presents Camus' "The stranger" in a very modern and contemporary way. It begins with a strong beat and two dancers dancing around one another, moving sometimes fast and strong and sometimes very slowly in fluid movements. A video comes up on screens placed on each side of the stage, where a patchwork-face talks about the meaning of life.
The play begins with the main character (Meursault), played by two actors at the same time, sitting on a chair with lilys. His mother died and he is expected to be sad and upset, but he feels nothing. Not because he did not like his mother, but because to him everything is the same and nothing matters. This shows in every aspect of his life, his relationship to a girl, the way he interacts with his neighbors and how he reacts to everyday situations.
By wearing a transparent mask, Meursalts face appears less human and somehow indifferent, it does not show any emotions, but still you can see the human face underneath, which makes it very captivating.
The story asks very fundamental questions about life and death, like what is the meaning of life, what is important and relevant, whats the definition of morality?
The two dancers appear many times during the play, sometimes between two scenes and sometimes as a part of a scene.
We felt like they seem to tell the same story the actors tell, but only through dancing and movements.
For us it was a very inspiring play, it is an invitation to think about some of the asked questions by yourself and it brings up very current topics.
The actors were brilliant, some of them were playing several roles during the play and for us it was a very impressive performance.
What we also liked very much was how they did not only use the whole stage but also the audience area and the combination of different elements like music, dance, video, audio and performance.

Marin Blülle as PRIEST
Birkan Çam as RAYMOND
Sophie Eglin as MARIE
Johanna Heusser as WARDEN
Ilario Raschèr as MEURSAULT I
Dina Sennheuser as WARDEN
Anna Sonnenschein as JUDGE, BOSS, EMPLOYEE

production: Patrick Gusset
stage: Chasper Bertschinger
costume: Svenja Gassen
video: Jonathan Hug
dramatic composition: Fiona Schreier

picture © Simon Hallström

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