Friday, 11 March 2016

Theater Basel | Die Bacchen (the bacchae)

The Bacchae plays at the Theater Basel now in an adaption by Roland Schimmelpfennig. The ancient greek tragedy by Euripides is considered one of the greatest tragedies ever written. 
The god Dionysus returns in a human body to Thebes to avenge the slander that he is not the son of Zeus. He drives the women of the city mad (including Pentheus' mother and her sisters) and leads them to the mountains, where they celebrate him as a god. Pentheus, the king of Theben, also refuses to accept Dionysus as a god and revolts against him, which leads Dionysus to set his followers the bacchae on him. It is a tragic story of madness, power and revenge, a fight between god and men.
The production is very captivating and deeply impressive with incredible visual and sound effects.
In the beginning the stage is covered by a huge sheet and the actors roll over it, covering it in dirt, mud and blood, later patterns are projected on the stage and on the wall, and in the end a movie cut from different scenes, like a newsflash, is projected on the back wall.
Partly the music is live with actors singing and a live musician.
For us the targeted use of these special effects is what made the play so special.
It created the perfect atmosphere for the tragedy to run its course and with the fantastic actors we think it was a really great production.
The very current and modern staging which was still so fitting for this more than 2500 years old tragedy really impressed us.

The bacchae is the third greek tragedy playing at the Theater Basel after "Nirgends in Friede. Antigone" and "Oedipus".

Thiemo Strutzenberger as DIONYSOS
Pia Händler and Cathrin Strömer as MAENADS CHOIR
Steffen Höld as TEIRESIAS
Michael Gempart as KADMOS
Ingo Tomi as PENTHEUS
Nicola Mastroberardino as A SHEPHERD
Katja Jung as AGAUE
Philipp Weber as YOUNG BOY

production and stage: Robert Borgmann
costume: Lili Anschütz
music: Philipp Weber
video: Lianne van de Laar
light: Cornelius Hunziker
dramatic composition: Constanze Kargl

picture © Simon Hallström

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