Mephisto

Mephisto
Director: Bastian Kraft
Writer: Bastian Kraft
Based on: Klaus Mann‘s novel
Cast: Nicholas Ofczarek, Fabian Krüger, Dörte Lyssewski, Sabine Haupt, Gunther Eckles, Till Firit, Sylvie Rohrer, Max Gindorff, Martin Reinke, Dorothee Hartinger
Seen on: 23.11.2018

Plot:
It’s the 20s/30s in Germany. Hendrik Höfgen (Nicholas Ofczarek) is an actor, reaching for a higher position. That means arranging himself with the people in power, although that isn’t always simple. His (former) friend, the author (Fabian Krüger), watches Höfgen’s rise with concern, worried about the implications for Höfgen himself, but even more so with the regime change and what it brings.

Mephisto was not great, but it did have its moments. It’s certainly an interesting piece of theater with a lot to say – which means it has more going for it than a lot of other plays I saw.

Three men on a black stage, one is wearing a black and white fool's hat.
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Der Kandidat [The Candidate]

Der Kandidat
Director: Georg Schmiedleitner
Writer: Carl Sternheim, Florian Hirsch
Based on: Gustave Flaubert‘s play Le Candidat
Cast: Gregor Bloéb, Bernd Birkhahn, Dietmar König, Petra Morzé, Christina Cervenka, Valentin Postlmayr, Sebastian Wendelin, Florian Teichtmeister, Sabine Haupt
Seen on: 15.11.2018

Plot:
Banker Russek (Gregor Bloéb) decides to go into politics. Not really because he has any convictions, or anything to stand for, really, but because it’s another source of power that he can tap. To ensure his election, Russek asks his daughter Luise (Christina Cervenka) to marry his opponent’s son (Valentin Postlmayr), and his wife (Petra Morzé) takes the chance to push their agenda as well by flirting with journalist Bach (Sebastian Wendelin). With the lawyer Evelyn (Sabine Haupt) as Russek’s spin doctor, there really isn’t anything that can stand in his way.

Der Kandidat is a mixed bag of beans for me. It was entertaining enough, but there were a couple of things that didn’t really work.

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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.