Der Besuch der alten Dame [The Visit]

Der Besuch der alten Dame
Director: Frank Hoffmann
Writer: Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Cast: Maria Happel, Rolf Mautz, Hans Dieter Knebel, Burghart Klaußner, Petra Morzé, Roland Koch, Dietmar König, Daniel Jesch, Marcus Kiepe, Michael Abendroth, Harald Retschitzegger, Franz Schöffthaler, Peter Nitsche
Seen on: 1.10.2018

Plot:
Claire Zachanassian (Maria Happel) returns to her hometown of Güllen for the first time in decades. She had to leave the town in shame, betrayed by her lover. But she rose from the ashes, married rich and now she has a plan to get revenge on everybody who ever wronged her – especially her ex.

Der Besuch der alten Dame seems to be a good play, but this production of it really didn’t work. They managed to have a comedy where I could see the funny bits and yet I never laughed. That’s really a problem.

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Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen [Love Stories and Marriage Affairs]

Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen
Director: Georg Schmiedleitner
Writer: Johann Nestroy
Cast: Gregor Bloéb, Marie-Louise Stockinger, Stefanie Dvorak, Regina Fritsch, Martin Vischer, Dietmar König, Christoph Radakovits, Markus Meyer, Alexandra Henkel, Peter Matić, Elisabeth Augustin, Robert Reinagl
Seen on: 10.6.2018

Plot:
Florian Fett (Gregor Bloéb) has made some money and moved from being a butcher to being a man of means and influence. And he intends to keep it that way. that also means that the women in his family need to marry advantageously. His daughter Fanny (Marie-Louise Stockinger) is in love with Anton (Martin Vischer), a merchant’s son. His more distant relative Ulrike (Stefanie Dvorak) is in love with Alfred (Christoph Radakovits) who appears to be poor, but isn’t actually. And the opportunistic Nebel (Markus Meyer) tries to win over the bristly, but rich Lucia Distel (Regina Fritsch), Fett’s sister-in-law. And Fett himself is everywhere, trying to make sure things happen in his own best interest.

Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen may not be the best thing I have ever seen at the Burgtheater, but it is far from the worst, despite being a comedy of errors in parts – and those rarely work for me.

The cast of Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen during the play.
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Hexenjagd [The Crucible] – DNF

Hexenjagd
Director: Martin Kušej
Writer: Arthur Miller (I don’t know who translated this version to German)
Cast: Steven Scharf, Andrea Wenzl, Dietmar König, Sabine Haupt, Marie-Luise Stockinger, Philipp Hauß, Irina Sulaver, Martin Schwab, Florian Teichtmeister, Barbara de Koy, Dörte Lyssewski, Daniel Jesch, Ignaz Kirchner, Michael Maertens, Barbara Petritsch, Lena Kalisch, Christina Cervenka
Seen on: 11.6.2017
[Here’s my review of the National Theater production of the play.]

Plot:
A girl has fallen ill in Salem and witchcraft is suspected. When a group of young girls led by Abigail Williams (Andrea Wenzl) starts to act possessed, things quickly run out of control and one woman after the other is accused of being a witch, apprehended and put on trial. But Abigail has her own motives and they revolve around John Proctor (Steven Scharf) who had a short-lived affair with her some time ago. John doesn’t realize the gravity of the situation at first, but as things continue to spiral out of control he finds himself more and more involved.

This production of Hexenjagd did not work for me at all. In fact, we left during the break because we just couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe that’s because I saw another production not that long ago, but I think it has more to do with the fact that the play opens with a group masturbation scene to show the “witching” the women in the play do. I felt this was unnecessary in very many ways, but mostly because it was voyeuristically sensationalizing female sexuality. The best thing about the play was the stage design that was stark and bold, but it did get a little monotone with time. With that last appeal lost, I didn’t regret leaving early at all.

Die Kommune (The Commune)

Die Kommune [German]
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writer: Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov
Cast: Regina Fritsch, Dorothee Hartinger, Alexandra Henkel [German], Elisa Plüss, Adina Vetter, Dietmar König, Fabian Krüger, Joachim Meyerhoff [German], Tilo Nest

Plot:
Erik (Joachim Meyerhoff) just inherited the family house and he and his wife Anna (Regina Fritsch) and their daughter Freja (Elisa Plüss) are about to move in. But they don’t want to move in alone. Instead they want to build a commune. So they find Ole (Tilo Nest), the couple Steffen (Dietmar König) and Ditte (Alexandra Henkel), Mona (Dorothee Hartinger) and Virgil (Fabian Krüger) to move in with them. And this works rather well until Erik meets Emma (Adina Vetter) after a few years and falls in love with her.

I very much enjoyed this play despite a few weaknesses that it has. I liked the stage design, the cast was really good and even though the story doesn’t exactly cover new ground it is still very engaging.

Kommune1

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