Written on Skin

Written on Skin
Director: Katie Mitchell
Conductor: Kent Nagano
Writer: Martin Crimp (libretto), George Benjamin (music)
Based on: Guillem de Cabestanh‘s Le coeur mangé (The Eaten Heart)
Cast: Audun Iversen, Barbara Hannigan, Iestyn Davies, Victoria Simmonds, Allan Clayton
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

As angels are rummaging on stage and prepare the set, the Protector (Audun Iversen), a wealthy land owner, asks the Boy (Iestyn Davies) into his home to write and illustrate a book about his accomplishments so far and his bright future, all pretty much embodied by his wife Agnès (Barbara Hannigan). The Boy agrees to do so and Agnès jumps at the chance to not only get love and attention as a woman (instead of a trophy) but also to set the record straight with her husband. So she seduces the Boy and influences his work.

I keep on trying with modern operas, but I’m not really getting there. With this one, at least, I really liked everything but the music.


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[It’s Festwochen time again.]

Wastwater is a play by Simon Stephens, directed by Katie Mitchell, starring Linda Bassett, Amanda Hale, Jo McInnes, Paul Ready, Tom Sturridge and Angus Wright.

The play consists of three loosely connected scenes. Harry (Tom Sturridge) takes his leave from his foster mom Frieda (Linda Bassett), probably forever. Lisa (Jo McInnes) and Mark (Paul Ready) meet in an airport hotel to betray their respective partners. Sian (Amanda Hale) sells Jonathan (Angus Wright) a child from Southeast Asia, despite his hesitation.

I just had a first look at the reviews Wastwater has been getting – and they’re toroughly mixed, which I don’t really understand. I think Wastwater is what theater should be like: it’s excellently written, has a great cast, a beautiful stage design and was very well directed. You could wish for nothing more.

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