Schlechte Partie [Bad Match]

Schlechte Partie aka Mädchen ohne Mitgift [Without a Dowry]
Director: Alvis Hermanis
Writer: Alexander Ostrovsky
Cast: Dörte Lyssewski, Marie-Luise Stockinger, Peter Simonischek, Martin Reinke, Michael Maertens, Nicholas Ofczarek, Fabian Krüger, Hermann Scheidleder, Hans Dieter Knebel, Christoph Kohlbacher, Peta Klotzberg
Seen on: 4.2.2018

Plot:
Larissa (Marie-Luise Stockinger) is beautiful and if she had any dowry, she would surely be able to choose her suitor. Unfortunately she doesn’t. Karandyschew (Michael Maertens) wants to marry her anyway. But then Paratow (Nicholas Ofczarek) shows up. He and Larissa used to be engaged until Paratow broke it off. Larissa is stull very much in love with him. Now that he’s back, she gets her hopes up once more. But recently broke Paratow is set to marry a rich woman the next day. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun with Larissa, though.

Schlechte Partie looks lush, but that’s about the only really good thing about it. It’s too long, too male and too tame.

Continue reading

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 Affäre Rue de Lourcine [L’Affaire de la rue de Lourcine]

Die Affäre Rue de Lourcine
Director: Barbara Frey
Writer: Eugène Labiche in Elfriede Jelinek‘s translation/adaptation
Cast: Nicholas Ofczarek, Michael Maertens, Peter Matić, Markus Meyer, Maria Happel
Seen on: 3.4.2016

Plot:
Lenglumé (Nicholas Ofczarek) wakes up one morning after a night of partying. He doesn’t really remember much and only barely recollects that the snoring man next to him is his school friend Mistingue (Michael Maertens) who was with him at their school reunion. Mistingue is doing similarly well. When Lenglumé’s wife Norine (Maria Happel) tells him about the murder of a young, poor woman the previous night, Lenglumé and Mistingue find clues that they were the killers and start putting a plan in motion to conceal their deed.

Die Affäre Rue de Lourcine was funny but also pretty exhausting. I think that another staging would have made it flow much more nicely. Instead it felt pretty long to me in spite of its short 90 minutes running time.

Continue reading

Der Revisor [The Government Inspector]

Der Revisor
Director: Alvis Hermanis
Writer: Nikolai Gogol
Cast: Michael Maertens, Maria Happel, Dörte Lyssewski, Fabian Krüger, Oliver Stokowski, Hermann Scheidleder, Dirk Nocker, Johann Adam Oest
Seen on: 26.12.2015

Plot:
The Mayor (Michael Maertens) of a small town has heard that a government inspector just arrived incognito in his town. He informs the most important men in his town, causing quite a stir among all of them, since neither of them really is without blame in their departments. When they find out that a stranger is staying at the inn, they decide that it must be the inspector and promptly start to shower him in gifts. The stranger – Chlestakov (Fabian Krüger) – is young and poor and doesn’t really know what prompts his good luck, but he’s determined to use it as long as it’s given.

There is a lot going on in this production of Der Revisor, from fake fat to actual live chickens on stage. It was a little too much for my taste, although the parts themselves were really good.

derrevisor Continue reading

Warten auf Godot [Waiting for Godot]

Warten auf Godot [German], which is – as you might have guessed – the German title of Waiting for Godot is the current production of the play by Samuel Beckett at the Burgtheater in Vienna. [My review of the book here.] It stars Michael Maertens, Ernst Stötzner, Ignaz Kirchner and Marcus Kiepe. [All actor links in German.]

Plot:
Vladimir (Michael Maertens) and Estragon (Ernst Stötzner) are sitting in the middle for nowhere, waiting for Godot who will have a proposal for them that can drastically change their lives. It’s unclear how long they’ve been waiting but it seems to be a pretty long time. They pass the time with partly comical, partly tragic, partly non-sensical banter, joined for a short period by the pompous Pozzo (Ignaz Kirchner) and his slave Lucky (Marcus Kiepe).

The stage design of this production is fantastic and works really well. The actors are really good, too, even though I pictured Vladimir completely differently from what Maertens does. Though it has a few lengths (even though it cut one of my favourite parts of the play), it’s a thoroughly enjoyable piece of work.

[That’s what I mean when I say fantastic stage design.]

Continue reading