Kabale & Co

Kabale und Liebe at Schaubühne by Arno Declair

Photos: Arno Declair

Generations of students have been tortured with this play. Friedrich Schiller‘s Kabale und Liebe is a required reading in German classes and in addition one of the most frequently performed plays. So what forced director Falk Richter to put this 18th century tragedy on stage again? After all, he will be compared with all his precursors. The hope that thousands of students will storm the Schaubuehne cannot be the reason. Richter rather wants to show that Schiller’s subject is timeless and can easily affect us nowadays. Although his version of Kabale und Liebe is not a riot play and it won’t go down in theater history it convinced me with some inventive ideas and an authentic main character. More infos after the jump.

Kabale und Liebe at Schaubühne by Arno Declair

Thankfully Richter extensively edited Schiller’s often demanding words. He’s presenting the famous monologues as if they were rock songs. On an illuminated stage the actors take the mic while in the background a bassist and four cellists play dramatic music. Important scenes are highlighted with loops of a swinging candelabrum or the kissing couple on a projection screen.

Kabale und Liebe at Schaubühne by Arno Declair

I was really electrified when Ferdinand (Stefan Stern) demolished the stage: He impressively showed what the pressure can do with someone who has to give up his one great love. His lover Luise (Lea Draeger) can hardly keep up with Ferdinand’s incredible pain. And then the end is coming: An intrigue leads to their death. The teenage couple right beside me didn’t care much, they still ate Valentine chocolate and made out like there was no tomorrow. But as the lights went down the audience’s breath – including mine – literally came to a stop.

Kabale und Liebe

13. ,17. ,18. & 30.03.2009

Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz
Kurfürstendamm 153
10709 Berlin


Text: Steffen Krautzig

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