Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Theater Basel | Die schwarze Spinne (the black spider)

The black spider is a novel by the Swiss author Jeremias Gotthelf from 1841. 
A little village in the Emmental in Switzerland is threatened by an order of knights under Hans von Stoffeln, that demands an impossible amount of labour from the farmers. In their misery they end up making a pact with the devil. He will have all the labour done for them, all he asks in return is one unchristened child.
After the work is done, the villagers think they can fool the devil by baptizing every newborn immediately after the birth, but it does not take long until the devil takes his revenge on them.
The villagers are not only xenophobic but also misogynist and even though no one really spoke up against the pact when they were in need, afterwards when it comes to paying the price everyone blames the others for the misery and no one wants to take responsibility.
It is is a very powerful and confronting play.
The newborns are represented by plaited butter buns and they are baptized by water from a plastic bottle being sprayed over them.
On stage there is a diagonally tilted round platform and the play takes place on and around it.
The threatening spiders are represented only by the hands of the characters, scuttling and knocking over the wooden platform and each others bodies.
The whole play is spoken in the third person, the narrative voice from the book is spoken word by word by the actors.
The play was very captivating and the actors very strong and the sounds by the percussionist on stage  created a very tense and sometimes even threatening atmosphere.

production: Tilmann Köhler
stage: Karoly Risz
costume: Susanne Uhl
light: Roland Heid
dramatic composition: Katrin Michaels

Martin Hug as GRANDFATHER / GREEN ONE / PRIEST
Liliane Amuat as PRETTY, A BIT PALE WOMAN
Myriam Schroeder as MIDWIFE / CHRISTINE
Urs Peter Halter as BENZ / HANS
Simon Zagermann as HANS ULI / HANS VON STOFFELN / SIGRIST / CHRISTEN
Steffen Höld as COUSIN / HORNBACH-FARMER
Cathrin Störmer as GODMOTHER / WIFE

percussionist: Camille Emaille

©picture: Priska Ketterer

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