The whole world is a stage. And all women and men are mere players. They come up and go down again. His life plays many roles. Through seven acts,” philosophizes Lord Jacques in William Shakespeare's As You Like It. In the theater itself, things are shorter and heavier when the 15th edition of the Hamburg Theater Festival turns the entire Hanseatic city into a stage for first-class German-speaking theater from May 16th to June 15th. It shows again what the artistic director Nikolaus Besch likes. Its excellent taste can be considered proven. His festival, always a festival of actors' theater and its stars, is currently starting with a guest performance by the Vienna Burgtheater.
"I am very happy that in the 15th year of the festival's existence, with the generous and unique support of Hamburg's citizens, companies and foundations, we have been able to invite inspiring theater productions from German-speaking countries to the festival," says Besch, thanking the sponsors of the privately run festivals As always, he focused on special directing approaches, strong material, excellent acting performances, "yes, epicurean theatre".
The tragic comedy "The Wide Land" by Arthur Schnitzler has been shortened from 27 to ten roles under the direction of Barbara Frey. The main roles are cast by Michael Mertens, Katharina Lorenz, Bibiana Beglau and Dorothee Hartinger. The play will be performed in the Academy Theater in Vienna. Why the pianist shot himself at the beginning will probably remain in the dark. But who cheats whom and who falls victim to another shot is what the play tells in detail. The Burgtheater plays the drama about man as a "complicated subject" whose soul is a "wide country" in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus (May 16/17).
The second of the six festival pieces is at the same time the second from Austria and the second guest performance at the Schauspielhaus. "Der Theatermacher" by Thomas Bernhard will be directed by Oliver Reese of the Berliner Ensemble (June 1). Stefanie Reinsperger shines in the leading role of the theater maker, with her Christine Schönfeld, Wolfgang Michael and Dana Herfurth as well as Adrian Grünewald play the evening about the classic, which shows the dark side of theater and touring and who ironically goes on tour here himself, in the degenerate theater town of Hamburg with its slightly more than 200 spectators.
A second production by the Berliner Ensemble also comes from the director Reese. Matthias Brandt shines in Max Frisch's "Mein Name sei Gantenbein" as a long monologue (June 14th, 15th) in the Thalia Theater. The theater festival will end with this evening. But before that there is another work from Berlin that Besch recommends to the Hanseatic League. "Eurotrash" by Christian Kracht in the acclaimed performance of the Schaubühne Berlin directed by Jan Bosse with Joachim Meyerhoff and Angela Winkler will be shown in Hall K6 at Kampnagel (9, 10 June).
All good plays by Viennese playwrights come in threes at the Hamburg Theater Festival. The theater maker is followed by Elfriede Jelinek's "Angabe der Person" in an equally great cast from the Deutsches Theater, including Fritzi Haberlandt, Susanne Wolff and Bernd Moss, who once moved from the capital from the Thalia Theater and now with their Linn Reusse at their side Hamburg return to their former playground at Alstertor. Celebrated in Berlin, they are shown in the production by Jossi Wieler in the large actress theater (June 2nd, 3rd).
The second guest performance by the Deutsches Theater is "Der Sturm" by William Shakespeare, like "Eurotrah" directed by Jan Bosse. Linn Reusse brings completely different colleagues to the Thalia Theater than to the Jelinek play, namely Wolfram Koch, Lorena Handshin, Julia Windischbauer, Tamer Tahan, Jeremy Mockridge and Carolina Bigge. The vortex from Berlin will only be shown once, on June 13th, at the Thalia Theater. To get in the mood for the "Storm", the Shakespeare theater concert "Searching For William" by the Woods of Birnam Company Dresden, directed by Christian Friedel, will be heard on Sunday, June 11th. The director is there as a singer, alongside his four bandmates on acoustic guitar, grand piano, bass and drums. In haunting songs like "I'll Call Thee Hamlet" they go in search of traces of the English bard,
In addition to the six guest performances with productions on the big stage, the current edition also features the traditional "Zündstoffe" evening in the St. Pauli Theater. This series focuses on a prominent theater worker, on June 5th it will be Charly Hübner, who, in conversation with Kester Schlenz, will clarify his standpoint on stagecraft, talk about his wild youth in the East, about his films, Motörhead and colleagues in front of and behind the scenes.