In July and August, the two warmest months of the Berlin calendar, theatre might be getting ready for an extended summer break but there’s still a lot to be seen, with thrillers and mysteries all the rage this
This piece, complete with pink tentacles playing the part of a sphinx, is surely one of the highlights of the season.
Over at the Komische Oper, Barrie Kosky’s version of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny opens with a man who has been stabbed on stage. Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill’s opera was banned by the Nazi party and considers whether, in a society governed by money, individuals are really free at all. The play was originally considered impossible to stage, but Kosky’s version has been hailed by critics as excellent.
Over at Deutsches Theater, Goethe’s Werther also begins with a death – this time a man with a gun in his mouth. Celebrated Polish director Ewelina Marciniak, who featured in this year’s Theatertreffen, has added Polish texts and translated them into German to give a unique spin on things. The play leaps through the relationship between protagonist Werther and his love Lotte, and ponders all the things it could have been.
Things are not quite as they seem at the Schaubühne as Anne-Cécile Vandalem’s The Others returns at the end of August. A drunk-driving hotel owner hits a refugee with her car. As he begins to recover in the care of the hotel, he starts to question why there are no children in the village – and why everyone is acting so suspiciously. This is Vandalem’s first collaboration with the Schaubühne ensemble and promises to be worth the wait.
Set in the East End of London, Deutsche Oper’s Greek follows Oedipus – here a cockney called Eddie – on his thrilling quest to escape poverty in the late 1980s. A gypsy at a funfair prophesises that he’ll kill his father and have sex with his mother. It turns out to be true, but in this version, Eddie doesn’t go blind or dump his mum, deciding in the end to embrace the fact he has become a “motherfucker”, quite literally. Four soloists play all of the parts in Steven Berkoff ’s libretto in absurd costumes and swearing a lot. Set outside in a car park, this piece, complete with pink tentacles playing the part of a sphinx, is surely one of the highlights of the season.