to Martin Jacir | 6:07 PM, June 27, 2021
Is it possible to rethink musical theater at all? Wasn’t “Don Giovanni” said to Mozart long ago? He made such objections 9. International Ring Award void. It’s just amazing how musical theater now seems to once again take a creative hook in a new direction. The post-drama and disassembly has finally arrived, as the work of the last three teams has shown. Their interpretations of the last three scenes of the opera were essentially the same. First, the young directors not only broke up the usual musical sequence, but also because of the long silent scenes. Most important, however, is the demarcation of observable forms, blurring and flowing together, deconstructing their identities. And not just with the duo of master and servant Giovanni / Liborello, which has already been interpreted as a mirror image.
With the winning German-Greek national team Anika Rutkowski / Eleni Constantato / Joanna Danhauser Giovanni’s end has become a feminist criminal court that does not need an avenging leader. The women who were humiliated, exploited and deceived by Giovanni take care of him on their own. The seducer transforms himself into a stone guest when a cast of Journey to Hell is cast in some kind of art academy (also some kind of cemetery, so to speak). It is a historically obsolete artifact. Thus, Rutkowski and her colleagues fit more closely with the intentions of Mozart’s piece, The Polish-Lithuanian team represented by Christian Lada / Desis Gonzmes / Natalia Kitamikado. This offered a wonderfully radical view that completely dismantled individualism. It showed a bourgeois society locked in the hallway, groaning and singing, groaning and snoring at its end. The links between Jean Paul Sartre’s “Closed Society” and Luis Buñuel’s “Der Würgeengel” are quite clear. These alluring atrocities, de-civilizing the bourgeoisie, were executed in a dramatic fashion, but they contradict the opera’s content. It is about the exact opposite process: about the bourgeoisie, the Enlightenment and the new morality.
The work of the third team Alicia Geoglin / Kristen Schumann / Pia Prius / Elise Shops From Germany, on the other hand, fell. After an interesting start and some unusual scenic solutions, one got lost in the conventions. However: Overall, in the 25 years of the Ring Award in Graz, none of the last years have been so radical in their approach to form, which is now seen entirely as material to work on. In other words, what fine spoken theater started 50 years ago.
The award ceremony itself was quite solomoney: since the winning team took home the other two awards from the state of Styria and the city of Graz, all teams were allowed to fly home for an entrance fee of €9,000. However, Ratkowski’s team will definitely return, and they will be entrusted with arranging one of the Bühnen Graz venues.
After nine contests, the Ring Heinz Weyringer prize drive is slowly coming to an end. The future of the competition is still pending, and there are interested parties or potential co-organizers in half of Europe. It will soon be explained how to proceed with the Ring Prize. The weekend at the Graz Schauspielhaus was undoubtedly impressive evidence that this unique competition demands a sequel.
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