Friday, 26 February 2016

Theater Basel | Play Strindberg

Play Strindberg plays at the Theater Basel now, not on a regular stage but in a separate room where the play takes place in the whole room and the audience sits at three sides of the room on a bench.
This setting removed the distance that is usually between actors and audience.
The actors interact with the audience and it is a very close and intense experience.
The dance of the death is a topic that is strongly anchored in Basel where in 1900 August Strindberg wrote his bleak marriage drama fittingly called dance of the death.
Edgar, a former fortress commander, lives with his wife Alice, who used to be a stage actress, on an isolated island. Their marriage is a love-hate relationship, unable to live with but also without each other. When cousin Kurt who returns from America comes for a visit, the situation escalates very quickly and old stories come back to the surface.
In "Play Strindberg" Friedrich Dürrenmatt – who was fascinated by the possibilities to play, but not very happy with the translations – created a new dance of the death, based on the original story but with new texts and with the presence of the actors as the central part of the play.
Florian Fischer manages to keep this close connection between actors and audience a priority during the whole play in his adaption, telling us the story in a funny, emotional and very lively way and with perfectly chosen music and sound effects and costumes by swiss designer Julian Zigerli.
This is exactly what fascinated us the most about this play, how close we felt to the actors, not only mentally (as it is in most of the plays) but also physically.
They moved around the room, from one side to the other, interacting with the audience and creating a very special atmosphere.
This proximity made the funny situations even more hilarious and our fascination for the story and the actors was constantly great during the whole play.
The complete setting of the room was perfect for the story, with every little detail having a meaning or a purpose during the play, like a tumbleweed next to the dining table, for us the perfect symbol for the desolation of their family-life.

Leonie Merlin Young as ALICE
Elias Eilinghoff as EDGAR
Mario Fuchs as KURT

production: Florian Fischer
stage: Stefan Britze
costume: Julian Zigerli
dramatic composition: Katrin Michaels

picture © Kim Culetto

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