All's Well That Ends Well

Yet another delightful evening at the Friedrich-Ebert-Gymnasium in Wilmersdorf began with the introduction to the problems posed by this “tragi-comedy” or “problem comedy”. At various important stages of the play these problems were artfully tossed to the audience and playfully discussed by a “teacher” and his “students” while doing a tour of a theatre.  This framework of a modern-day class excursion is a brilliant device to help the audience understand the crux of the play and to make us aware of how similar our attitudes and behaviour are to those of over 400 years ago when Shakespeare wrote the play.

The endlessly patient and well-meaning but ineffectual  “Teacher” trying to make his class behave well during a tour backstage is played convincingly by the very talented ex-pupil of the Friedrich-Ebert-Gymnasium, Kilian Peters, who convinces in two other roles in this play: he is also the stern Lord Dumaine, leader of the Tuscan Duke’s troops, who punishes the disloyal braggart Parolles, companion to the young Count Rossillion. In addition Kilian Peters also plays a troubadour who sings about “amore” to any pretty girl – for a fee – thus showing how superficial many declarations of love by young men (of Florence) are. Kilian has a very good singing voice and obviously enjoys acting.

Another very gifted actress is Maria Canzoneri who plays the stressed “Stage Manager” who has to try to keep the pupils from damaging the props or running wild backstage while offering them insight into the workings of a professional theatre. She can also sing very well and it is a pity that we heard only one song from her.

Silan Dönderalp plays the beautiful Countess Rossillion and is convincing as a grieving “grande dame” but also as a benevolent motherly friend to the young Helena, played with great aplomb by Mareike Froitzheim. Her Helena is  humble and modest, and yet determined and wily enough to get her man by any means, even though he is far beyond her scope, thanks to his noble birth.

Bertram is impishly played by Lucca Riedmayer, who portrays the young Count Rossillion with obvious enjoyment as obstinate and reckless, fun-loving as well as foolish in his friendship towards the good-for-nothing Parolles and irresponsible in his behaviour towards Diana. He takes pleasure in fobbing off Helena’s desire to marry him with what he thinks is an impossible mission: to get his ring and become pregnant with his child before he will accept her as his wife. But he has not reckoned with Helena’s feminine cunning or with Diana’s cooperation in Helena’s stratagem to fulfil Bertram’s conditions.

Philip Bock does a wonderful job in the role of Bertram’s companion Parolles: he is convincing as a cowardly knave, disloyal, impudent and full of himself, who at the end accepts his punishment as deserved yet still seeks to make the best of his situation by retrieving his captain’s epaulets – they might be useful at some later stage ...

As the King of France Tarik Moeller is at first a moribund monarch with a hilariously royal walking frame to help him get to his throne. But after his miraculous cure, effected by Helena with one of her famous physician father’s  prescriptions, he blossoms into a truly regal figure.

The whole ensemble of soldiers, citizens and students played their parts with verve and helped to make the evening as enjoyable as possible. The costumes and scenery were again a marvel of beauty yet practicality. Peter Baasner had no work this time as a prompt and Martina Baasner, the brilliant director of the Shakespeare Players, could relax and also enjoy the fruits of all the hard work that went into yet another wonderful staging of Shakespeare’s great works.    

May these annual offerings long continue to provide such joy to the audience and to the players! I’m sure William himself would have been extremely pleased with these interpretations of his plays.

                                                             Linda Festag

I was very amused. A wonderful play and great performance.                                         Jutta Nagel

Glückwunsch zu dieser gelungenen Aufführung! Tolle Idee mit der Parallelhandlung und schöne Details wie der hermelinverbrämte Bademantel oder samtummantelte Rollator. Super natürlich auch Kilians Gesangseinlagen und Philipp ist ein Erzkomödiant.
Toi toi toi noch zur Aufführung morgen!
                                                             Marianne Träger

Thanks very much for providing us once again with a very entertaining evening. As always, we were very impressed with the actors' English and acting skills and delighted in the countless ideas you had for bringing Shakespeare to life to an audience that wouldn't always understand the complexities of the language.

                                                             John Wilkinson

Liebe Shakespeare Players!

Es ist wirklich phantastisch, was Sie da wieder auf die Beine gestellt haben – getarnt als 'Schul-Aufführung'; dabei würden Sie jede Konkurrenz aus sogenannten Laientruppen mit Bravour ausstechen und auch manche Vorstellung in Schauspielhäusern blass aussehen lassen. Wie gut verstehe ich eine meiner Literaturfreundinnen, die sich begeistert jeden Ihrer drei Abende ansieht und sich – wie ich – schon aufs nächste Jahr freut.

Diesmal war ich im Vorfeld ein wenig skeptisch, weil Sie das sowohl sprachlich wie auch inhaltlich schwierigste der Problem Plays ausgewählt hatten. Richtig neugierig auf den Umgang mit dem spröden Text machte mich dann aber schon die einfallsreiche Postkarte mit dem an der Kette liegenden gespaltenen Herzen und den böse verletzenden Zacken.

Und dann kam dieser geradezu geniale Einfall, wenigstens die mit der unwürdigen Ehe verbundenen Frage des Problemstücks durch die moderne Besuchergruppe anzugehen, sich also hierin vor der wissenschaftlichen Auseinandersetzung überhaupt nicht zu drücken und gleichzeitig den jungen Leuten einen lebendigen, mitreißenden Spaß zu gönnen, inklusive einer kleinen Smartphonekritik. Super!

Kein Wunder, dass man ein ganzes Jahr an solchem Projekt arbeitet, zumal sich ja die Spielerschar naturgemäß immer wieder neu zusammensetzt und sicher auch immer wieder ganz unterschiedliche Talente in der Gruppe auftauchen. A propos Truppe: Schon allein dafür die Kostüme zu entwerfen und zu schneidern – eine tolle Leistung! Dazu die vielen anderen hübschen Ideen oder die offensichtlich notwendige Umstellung von Personen, hier etwa von Lafeu auf Lady Lafeu.

Und dann natürlich die Dinge, die mein Pädagogenherz höher schlagen lassen: Wie Sie das schaffen, die verschiedenen Fachbereiche in die Arbeit einzubeziehen und alles gekonnt miteinander zu verzahnen, sodass sich eben eine überzeugende Inszenierung ergibt!!

Ein paar Einzelheiten will ich, obwohl ich mir der Unvollständigkeit deutlich bewusst bin, doch erwähnen: die Projektion des Palastes von Rossillion, die gekonnten Aufmärsche der Soldaten und natürlich die Einbeziehung von Musik und Tanz.

Nur zu verständlich, dass am Ende die Regisseurin von Begeisterten und Lobenden umringt war! Und gar nicht zu übersehen, dass sich ALLE Mitwirkenden in einem einzigen großen Freudenfest zusammenfinden konnten. Chapeau!

 

                                                            Hildegard Vollmer