Berlin Theater Festival's opening performance coming to Shanghai
Christopher Rüping's "Das neue Leben: Where Do We Go From Here," the opening performance of the 59th Berliner Theatertreffen (Berlin Theater Festival), will meet Shanghai audience at Shanghai Oriental Art Center at the end of the month.
"Das neue Leben: Where Do We Go From Here" starts with poet Dante's sonnets as Rüping and his actors approach this 700-year-old classical text. What happens when people want to love wholeheartedly but find nowhere to put such love?
In the collection of prose and sonnet works Vita Nova (The New Life), Dante profoundly expresses his feelings for Beatrice. Before he could confess his feelings, his crush passed away prematurely, leaving the poet with an unhealed wound.
The play consists of three consecutive parts respectively telling Dante's memory of his lover Beatrice, his lover's death, and the dream of the two people's lives and deaths. Four actors will take turns playing Dante.
Love, failure, irretrievable moments, and starting over are the core themes of this avant-garde work, where ancient love poems meet modern pop songs.
The play was invited to the Wuzhen Theater Festival last December.
"Christopher Rüping hands Dante's early work to a deeply laid-back cast, who examine it like a precious but robust toy, trying to reveal its fundamentals," the Wuzhen Theater Festival's committee noted in its program recommendation. "The actors venture to explore the very limits of sentimentality without a safety net."
Born in Hanover, Rüping studied direction at the Theaterakademie Hamburg and the Zurich University of the Arts. He was resident director at the Münchner Kammerspiele from 2016 to 2019. Instead of focusing on developing an easily identifiable directorial style, he has been known for experimenting with new forms and conceptual approaches so as to express very personal and modern perspectives on both classical and contemporary material.
Rüping has received a total of five invitations to the Berlin Theatertreffen, the largest and most important drama festival in German speaking area. It is known as the world's three major drama festivals together with the Festival d'Avignon in France and the Edinburgh International Festival in Britain.
Compared with the other two drama festivals, the Berliner Theatertreffen focuses more on the professionalism and experiment of the internal structure of the drama, and the advancement and modernity of the external meaning of the drama.
Other upcoming drama performances to be staged at the Oriental Art Center include director Zhao Miao's "Two Capitals, Fifteen Days," and director Fang Xu's "Rickshaw Boy."
"Two Capitals, Fifteen Days," scheduled for mid-December, is adapted from author Ma Boyong's historical novel of the same name. It integrates physical theater with opera elements, inviting audience for a "suspenseful escape."
"Rickshaw Boy" is adapted from writer Lao She's novel of the same name. The play, scheduled for mid-January, will be presented by an all-male cast. The classic story will be approached with a modern angle to better connect with younger audience.
Date: November 29-30, 7:15pm
Tickets: 180-780 yuan
Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center 上海东方艺术中心
Address: 425 Dingxiang Road, Pudong New Area 浦东丁香路425号