Berlin calling!

Switzerland is very prominently represented in this year’s Berlin Theatertreffen, with three remarkable productions out of the ten which the jury selected from 377 shows.

«Drei Schwestern» by Theater Basel has the honour of opening the festival on 6 May. The director Simon Stone has brilliantly adapted Chekhov’s dialogues and his ambience to the present, bringing the play subtly and with great precision into today’s world.
In the following two weeks of the festival, «Die Vernichtung» by Konzert Theater Bern and «Five Easy Pieces» by IIPM / Milo Rau and Campo Gent will be shown. Milo Rau will also be awarded the 3sat prize on 13th May for this production. And that is so although – or even because? – it provoked a scandal greater than that of practically any other German-speaking production last year, due to its dealing with the paedophile serial killer Marc Dutroux – in a production acted by children. This led to the work being banned in different countries, even in a country as open-minded as Germany, where the courts disallowed performances in Frankfurt. «Five easy pieces» is first and foremost an intelligent reflection on evil that analyses the Dutroux case as an example, as well as a lesson in theater and reality. The acting of the children and the power of their presence are astonishing.

IIPM_Five easy pieces (c)Phile Deprez
IIPM_Five easy pieces ©Phile Deprez

One of the most sought-after directors at the moment is the rising star Ersan Mondtag. Together with the young Berlin author Olga Bach, he has developed «Die Vernichtung», a disruptive social philosophy about the lack of prospects for young people: a synthesis of the arts, with a strident yet depressing aesthetic, in which people keep themselves busy creating urban stress; and when a hedonistic lifestyle no longer gives the desired kick, destructive rage and brutal power take over. Following the Theatertreffen, this production will also be shown at the Mülheimer Theatertage.
Not a Swiss production, but the work of a Swiss artist is «Traurige Zauberer» by Thom Luz, which was created at Staatstheater Mainz. That the director Thom Luz has devoted himself to the somewhat old-fashioned art of magic, seems only right. After all, he is a magician himself, whose productions enchant with their atmosphere born of music and of melancholy. Following on from his «Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln» two years ago, he is already making his second appearance at the Berlin Theatertreffen.