Hexenjagd [The Crucible] – DNF

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.]

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.

Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms
Director: Sebastian Nübling [German]
Writer: Simon Stephens
Cast: Rasmus Kaljujärv, Risto Kübar, Lasse Myhr, Mirtel Pohla, Jaak Prints, Gert Raudsep, Ferdy Roberts, Steven Scharf, Rupert Simonian, Çigdem Teke, Nick Tennant, Tambet Tuisk, Sergo Vares
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

When a severed head is found in the Thames, two British policemen, Ignatius (Nick Tennant) and Charlie (Ferdy Roberts) get drawn into an investigation that starts off with the arrest of a young boy (Ruper Simonian) but then evolves into a story about human trafficking that leads the two of them to Germany. There they meet their German colleague Dresner (Steven Scharf) who tries to help them. Ultimately the trail leads to a mysterious guy called The White Bird and to Estonia.

Three Kingdoms was interesting and weird and cool and very funy and just a little incomprehnsible and too long. But I very much enjoyed myself and the show, even if 2 (instead of 3) hours would probably have been enough.

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Rechnitz (Der Würgeengel) [Rechnitz (The Exterminating Angel)]

Rechnitz (Der Würgeengel) is a play by Elfriede Jelinek. She had originally barred it from being shown in Austria but made an exception for the Festwochen. It was directed by Jossi Wieler [German] and stars Katja Bürkle, André Jung, Hans Kremer, Steven Scharf [German] and Hildegard Schmahl.

Rechnitz is a town in the East of Austria, where in 1945 during a party by Countess Margit von Batthyány, Nazis killed about 200 Jews as part of their entertainment. Until today, the remains of the victims were not found, neither was the whole affair properly investigated.
The play itself doesn’t really have a plot. It consists of five people, referred to as Delivery Persons/Messengers, telling the story of the massacre in ever repeating circles.

Before I say anything else, let me perfectly clear: I don’t get Jelinek. I don’t get why she’s famous, I don’t get why she’s so fucking complicated and I don’t like her style. I wouldn’t have watched this play if my whole family hadn’t said that they wanted to see it, too and as an Austrian I think it’s my responsibility to a) confront myself with WW2 on a regular basis and b) see at least one Jelinek play (I have read one of her novels already, so I can check that off my list*).

Bearing that in mind, I really did not like the play.

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