NS Martin Jacir | 12:13 AM, August 16, 2021
Exactly 30 naked men on stage: mostly as silent people, a forest of corpses, a wall of muscles, behind which sometimes the characters are hidden. Naked men, often standing with their backs to the audience, but also repeatedly running into action, riot and riot, harassing and encircling female characters, making them unfriendly in their midst and pushing them over the edge. Even if there are two governors at the center of Schiller’s “Maria Stewart,” director Martin Cushage leaves no doubt: It’s a man’s world.
At first, in anticipation of the tragic end, Maria Stewart’s head hovers over the spectacle of testosterone and bare meat. One of several female victims. Queen of Scots Stewart and her English nemesis Elizabeth may hate each other deeply, but they both feel like their own. Souls of lonely women who also recognize themselves in the Other. It is no coincidence that the gloves and red leather shoes they wear are of the same color; Perhaps their strategies for gaining power and staying in power are interchangeable.
Martin Kušej works to craft this identity in an exciting way and during the duel in Fotheringhay Park there are – despite all the rituals of mutual humiliation – small moments in which the “brotherly” love and tenderness of these women are indicated, but in the storm of strength and their needs of course they have no chance.
Despite its stellar cast, the evening needs at least two acts to take off at least in parts. Although Birgit Mineschmeyer vomits in the title role from the start and snarls at her misfortune, she literally removes her from her battered body: a humiliated woman who is “unbearably humiliated,” she claims: still full of lust for battle, complete hatred, full of the most intense challenge. . Yet it is itself the only accusation of unjust treatment, through years of daily (psychological) torture.
Her opponent: Bibiana Biglao as Elizabeth, who has to hide her insecurity and loneliness behind arrogance. Beglau does not find a suitable tone for the character throughout the evening. Their imitative demeanor, their pathetic rage disturb as much as Minnechmeyer’s groans, peppered with bitterness and poison. It’s almost old-fashioned again, as these two great actresses celebrate historical tragedy.
Men? Franz Batzold is the ambitious savior Mortimer, whose sense of message and “love” trembles even Maria. Norman Hacker gives Burleigh as an icy sadistic actor to Reason for Being, a facade left behind by obsessions (power or Elizabeth) that have long ravaged his soul. Itai Teran is the weak and opportunist Lester, a hated courtier, and a favorite without a backbone, but with a lust for humiliation. Oliver Negele as Talbot gives the long-tired, resigned voice of reason and justice, while Paulie keeper Rainer Galk alternates between brutal clichés and sympathy. Unlucky Davison comes under the wheels of irresponsible force in the guise of Tim Wirths.
Kušej created a fine written version in the Annette Murschetz Theater District, which sacrifices many supporting roles. The visuals are powerful, but intensely concerned with their impact, and despite all the effort and theatrical effort, this production is somewhat similar to The Old Master and devoid of surprises. This time Kušej’s theatrical paw looks perfectly smoothed.
Maria Stewart by Friedrich Schiller
Director: Martin Koshy
With Birgit Minnechmeyer, Bibiana Biglau, Itay Terran, Oliver Njeli, Norman Hacker and others
Salzburg Festival. Berner Island, Hallen
Offers until August 26th.
Remaining tickets at www.salzburgerfestspiele.at