Zurich Theatre – new directions for new lines, both in the Schauspielhaus and in the Theater am Neumarkt. Can they win over the tricky Zurich audience?
von Max Glauner
Finally, a Wünschkonzert: Nikolaus Stehmann – new director of the Zurich Schauspielhaus with the dramaturge Benjamin von Blomberg – stood on keyboard, mic and guitar and sang every wish the audience had written about the opening day on hundreds of green post-it notes individually in rock and blues improvisations. Like the director of the Zurich opera Andreas Homoki a few years earlier, Steman managed to win over the difficult Zurich audience with his charm and wit.
Alexander Giesches Box and Simona Biekšaitės Wunschkonzert-Bühnenbild established first references to contemporary art. Installation and interaction were the order of the day. With the performances of the US-American artists Wu Tsang, Sudden Rise, and Trajal Harrell, In the Mood for Frankie, two artists with their roots in the fine arts came on stage. The result was correspondingly visualy intense. However, it also marked a dilemma and a caesura; contemporary theatre is moving away from the text to an alarming extent. Stemann’s Trojan to Zurich was Faust I & II. The Hamburg production was also a triumph in Zurich. Stemann and his leading actor Sebastian Rudoph succeeded in maintaining the tension between text and performance, depth and clamour for long stretches. But what use is it when Helena, dying in the second part of the piece, begs for a Persephone, when no one knows any more that a goddess of the underworld is being called here, who also promises resurrection? Is it surprising that the strongest production of the opening round was that of the young Leonie Böhm, Horvat’s Kasimir and Karoline? The fairgroundstall drama reduced to three characters and one musician, all boys, few gestures, high emotions, great. But lyrics? No chance!