Aus dem Leben der Marionetten

The renowned and awarded Andreas Kriegenburg's three hour long staging of From the Life of the Marionettes gained much praise, with a few exceptions.

Aus dem Leben der Marionetten

The renowned and awarded Andreas Kriegenburg's three hour long staging of From the Life of the Marionettes gained much praise, with a few exceptions.

Thalia Theater
Hamburg
"a capturing psycho-drama between dream and reality"
Schweriner Volkzeitung

Text

The critics payed most attention to the stage design of Andreas Kriegenburg. Hamburger Abendblatt's Maike Schiller called it painfully aesthetic and found that it enforced "the distressing contradiction between outer beauty and inner ugliness". He was supported by Die Welt's Stefan Grund who meant that Kriegenburg staged Bergman's drama of existential unease with "disturbingly beauty".

The stage was dominated by a big red cage in which the characters moved around like restless animals. Surrounded by cherry trees in bloom the stage design was given an Asian impression, reinforced by the prostitute Ka wearing a Geisha costume and having a large Chinese dragon tattooed over her whole exposed back. The cruelty of the drama was expressed by Kriegenburg letting the scenes take place on different levels of the stage, where Peter violates Ka's body in the back of the stage while the front of the stage showed Katarina and her homosexual associate Tim with Tim holding his bitter monologue about the inevitable aging of the body.

Critical voices concerned Kriegenburg staging the climax of the drama too late in the performance. Susann Oberacker in Hamburger Morgenpost wrote that the artistic vision of Kriegenburg had become an end in it self and that this, in combination with the artificial impression of the first act, made parts of the audience leave the performance in the intermission. Irene Bazinger in Frankfurter Allgemeine, one of the most critical reviewers, found the performance both pretentious and banal.

The actors mostly received overwhelming critique. Hamburger Abendblatt meant that Jörg Pose was the ideal possessor of the part of a man close to eruption. Schiller also emphasized Helmut Mooshammer's Tim, who she claimed "drafts a psychological nuanced portrait of a lonely man". Die Welt found that the "excellent" Mooshammer was the discovery of the evening. Grund also wrote that Judith Hoffman's Katarina culminated in her furious monologue at the end of the play. Irene Bazinger was less pleased and claimed that Judith Hoffman and Hans Löw (who plays Peter's friend and shrink) were both colour- and shapeless and that Bergman's bitter reality never really reached them. 

While Bergman puts the murder of Ka in the beginning of his film, Kriengenburg left it until the end, repeating the scenes preceding it. According to Grund, Kriegenburg translated the language of the film to stage by combining the scenes of Peter's and Katarina's marriage with these repeated scenes. Thus Kriegenburg lets the poetic text of Bergman become lyrical images which keeps the tension throughout the performance. 

Irene Bazinger, Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, 23 April 2007
Susann Oberacker, Hamburger Morgenpost, 24 April 2007
Stefan Grund, Die Welt, 22 april 2007
Maike Schiller, Hamburger Abendblatt, 23 April, 2007
Süddeutsche Zeitiung, 23 April 2007
Schweriner Volkzeitung, 24 April 2007

Collaborators

  • Andreas Kriegenburg, Director
  • Renate Bleibtreu, Translation
  • Andrea Schraad, Costume design
  • Michael Verhovec, Music
  • Claus Caesar, Dramaturgy
  • Jörg Pose, Peter Egermann
  • Judith Hofmann, Katarina Egermann
  • Hans Löw, Mogens Jensen
  • Katharina Matz, Cordelia Egermann, the mother of Peter
  • Helmut Mooshammer, Tim
  • Katharina Behrens, Katarina "Ka" Krafft, prostitute
  • Daniel Hoevels