One tries not to objectify actors based on their looks, but as this play is based on the same novel as Tom Cruise’s horny shagfest Eyes Wide Shut, it seems appropriate to note, firstly, that everyone in this performance is really attractive.
The story of a couple briefly tempted by debauchery but plumping for monogamy feels a little tame in Berlin in 2022.
Traumnovelle is a pretty faithful adaptation of the 1926 Arthur Schnitzler novella, which sees a Viennese doctor find out his wife is having fantasies about other men before popping off to a masked orgy to deal with his own repressed sexuality. This adaptation, written by the director, cleverly uses only two actors who alternate between playing the central roles of Fridolin and Albertina and giving narration or filling the show’s other roles.
However, this also makes the evening fairly slow as plenty of time is spent quoting Schnitzler’s text directly. The simple set design, playing with curtains and boxes, is generally well done but walks an unsteady line between minimalism and faff.
Ultimately, the story of a couple briefly tempted by debauchery but plumping for monogamy feels a little tame in Berlin in 2022. ★★★
- Oct 6-9 Kleines Theater am Südwestkorso, Tempelhof- Schöneberg (in German)