Düsseldorf Premiere at Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus: “Making of Shakespeare” is the name of the play in which amateurs and professionals play a varied game. It turned out to be an entertaining experience.
Essentially, this phase project ended after less than 15 minutes. Simply failed. The so-called veteran actors are tired of all this creative interaction between young and old, professionals and amateurs. Especially Mina Wondrich. The band member unleashed his fury and targeted fellow Gustav Steindorff, who was only 12 years old. What does he hear? “I hate young men on stage,” she exclaims with great credibility. “And I hate those who play for young people,” by which she undoubtedly means those who belong to the Junges Schauspielhaus. Finally: “And I hate all my fellow hallmen who are now laughing at themselves because they shouldn’t have been in this miserable production.”
Actor Jonas Friedrich Leonardi also tried his best to avoid his participation in the project by reporting his illness. He was licking every escalator and drinking from every glass at the last party – nothing. Corona can no longer be counted on. Hanna Wirth’s fervent desire not to have to sing in a piece never came true.
It all goes back to the beginning: “The Making of Shakespeare” is a theatrical experience with which the director can actually begin. By showing the audience what you have to offer in terms of the magic of theater and mime. In this case, in addition to three representatives of the group and two members of Junges Schauspiel, there are also seven enthusiastic young people participating in “Stadt: Kollektiv”, that is, the group of games for all citizens that emerged from Bürgerbühne.
The bottom line is: Three classes, three programmes, three groups with different life experiences and acting skills – it all somehow come together in the play directed by Joanna Brammel. They are colourful, chaotic and funny, which is why a theater giant who had exactly this in mind was used for the idea of the game and its motifs: William Shakespeare.
We test the diverse origin story, first on hate and then on love with a number of pair-stories from Shakespeare’s nearly inexhaustible repertoire of lovers. Especially Miranda and Ferdinand from Shakespeare’s last drama, The Tempest. Despite all the chaos of the evening, this piece provides the plot framework for the performance, as young people and professionals find each other intrigued and search for their identity. A wind machine ignites a storm, part of the stage decorations are broken, and the troupe is stranded on an island, an enclosed space where imagination awakens and acting can begin.
Making Shakespeare is above all an experience. A play about theater, a game about how a game appears, all in public, to the audience and with the audience — even if Leonardi’s initial idea of ”gathering” on stage asks no questions from the audience. Seems like a prelude to something. Perhaps to what is haunted by the word “participatory theater” and is meant to refer to the future of theatre. The message of this composition is conceivably clear and simple, yet too superficial for the power and potential of the theater. Evoking imagination, believing in the power of love and togetherness as an effective cure for loneliness caused by COVID-19 too – these are messages that should have very high approval ratings. But theater is always more than a place to reassure like-minded people.
From this point of view, a test evening would be very boring if the players and their game had not questioned and ridiculed themselves. The sarcasm gives the piece a lightness that makes you want to go on stage. For example, when Jonathan Giles was first seen by the public after he communicated with the infamous Shakespearean love drop. Since then, he has given everything to please him – and in exactly this order: on the guitar, on the piano, with the saxophone. However, the attention often belongs to others. For example Minna Wündrich, who was also struck by love drops, but who knows the consequences of such magic from her deep knowledge of Shakespeare’s work. Blindfolded, she was only groping on the stage, and when she finally raised it, she saw one of the young men among all people: “Now, fools filled the ass with a 15-year-old.”
The making of Shakespeare is an entertaining thing, a theatrical statement of intent. Not a model for the future. A piece that you want to be a letter rather than a thesis. Finally, the invitation to the first party. with wine. And soda of course.