The Glass Menagerie (Die Glasmenagerie)

by Tennessee Williams
Costumes Anja Rabes
Robert Grauel
Dramaturgy Ulrich Beck
Premiere December 16, 2016
Anja SchneiderAmanda Wingfield
Linn ReusseLaura Wingfield
Marcel KohlerTom Wingfield
Holger StockhausJim O’Connor
Amanda Wingfield
Laura Wingfield
Tom Wingfield
Jim O’Connor
Süddeutsche Zeitung
Christine Dössel, 28.12.2016
The director holds back on interpretations, updates and explanations. Rather, he focuses on atmosphere, moods and vibrations – and his formidable acting quartet, who make a spectacular evening of theatre out of this unspectacular, at times even desolate, family drama. [...]

Anja Schneider (former actress with Armin Petras at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin and the Schauspiel Stuttgart, now in the DT ensemble) is a show in herself: a high-speed steamroller, a pain in the neck, and forever-young, constantly babbling, pushy blonde. Childish, funny, flirtatious to the point of overkill – or even to the point of suicide – yet still permeable to the pain, worry and loneliness of her character.
The outsider Laura – a girl with thick glasses, baggy clothes and the same aura of innocence that Björk shows in Lars von Trier’s movie ''Dancer in the Dark'' – has her own seat by a sewing machine on the right by the wall. When she is alone, she puts on a record from Papa’s collection (the well-selected songs are from Kimmig’s own playlist) and then she dances. And how she dances! In a wonderfully awkward, erotic and eccentric way, and so utterly lost in herself that Linn Reusse gets applause for the scene. It’s fascinating throughout to watch how she plays Laura – how she literally does her own thing. [...]

Things take an almost lowbrow turn into brash slapstick after the interval, when Tom brings home his work mate Jim O'Connor as a possible groom for Laura. The mother’s excitement is wonderful, as she throws her arms around the man’s neck in her ridiculous young girl's get-up. And there is tender comedy as Laura gradually lets go of her shyness and awkwardness in Jim’s presence. Holger Stockhaus is a sweet-talking stud of the first degree, a guy with a contagious confidence in the future and a terrific entertainer to boot. The way in which he jams an entire jazz concert for Laura in pantomimish, a-capella style is enough to make you go weak at the knees.
The director holds back on interpretations, updates and explanations. Rather, he focuses on atmosphere, moods and vibrations – and his formidable acting quartet, who make a spectacular evening of theatre out of this unspectacular, at times even desolate, family drama. [...]

Anja Schneider (former actress with Armin Petras at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin and the Schauspiel Stuttgart, now in the DT ensemble) is a show in herself: a high-speed steamroller, a pain in the neck, and forever-young, constantly babbling, pushy blonde. Childish, funny, flirtatious to the point of overkill – or even to the point of suicide – yet still permeable to the pain, worry and loneliness of her character.
The outsider Laura – a girl with thick glasses, baggy clothes and the same aura of innocence that Björk shows in Lars von Trier’s movie ''Dancer in the Dark'' – has her own seat by a sewing machine on the right by the wall. When she is alone, she puts on a record from Papa’s collection (the well-selected songs are from Kimmig’s own playlist) and then she dances. And how she dances! In a wonderfully awkward, erotic and eccentric way, and so utterly lost in herself that Linn Reusse gets applause for the scene. It’s fascinating throughout to watch how she plays Laura – how she literally does her own thing. [...]

Things take an almost lowbrow turn into brash slapstick after the interval, when Tom brings home his work mate Jim O'Connor as a possible groom for Laura. The mother’s excitement is wonderful, as she throws her arms around the man’s neck in her ridiculous young girl's get-up. And there is tender comedy as Laura gradually lets go of her shyness and awkwardness in Jim’s presence. Holger Stockhaus is a sweet-talking stud of the first degree, a guy with a contagious confidence in the future and a terrific entertainer to boot. The way in which he jams an entire jazz concert for Laura in pantomimish, a-capella style is enough to make you go weak at the knees.
Berliner Zeitung
Dirk Pilz, 19.12.2016
Williams wanted his drama, which premiered in 1945, to be played ''in the sphere of memory''; it should be done ''independently of all theatre convention''. Kimmig takes this literally: he gives the actors free reign for improvisation and they take the opportunity to be surprised by their characters. Linn Reusse has two chickens and a pile of records for her interpretation of Laura; she dances, mouths silent words to herself, stares a chicken in the eye, and sits at her sewing machine in the windowless, greyish-green residential basement, always on the edge between being lost in her own world and quirkiness. Marcel Kohler's Tom fumes, hops and shouts, but always in a way that feels as if this Tom knows least of all what it is he’s doing. And Anja Schneider plunges headlong into her role, but never without looking over her shoulder. These slim gaps between identities are what give the show its dramatic build and fall. Williams wanted his drama, which premiered in 1945, to be played ''in the sphere of memory''; it should be done ''independently of all theatre convention''. Kimmig takes this literally: he gives the actors free reign for improvisation and they take the opportunity to be surprised by their characters. Linn Reusse has two chickens and a pile of records for her interpretation of Laura; she dances, mouths silent words to herself, stares a chicken in the eye, and sits at her sewing machine in the windowless, greyish-green residential basement, always on the edge between being lost in her own world and quirkiness. Marcel Kohler's Tom fumes, hops and shouts, but always in a way that feels as if this Tom knows least of all what it is he’s doing. And Anja Schneider plunges headlong into her role, but never without looking over her shoulder. These slim gaps between identities are what give the show its dramatic build and fall.
Deutschlandradio Kultur
André Mumot, 19.12.2016
The four actors in the show are phenomenally good at interplaying gestures of love and hate, touching and rejecting and being completely uninhibited in their interaction. Anja Schneider (as the desperate, very young, highly erotically charged mother) fights breathlessly, trembling, not believing in the future of her family, while Linn Reuse's turns her secret dances into real highlights, enough to make you cry, but without ever sinking into weepy self-pity. And finally, Marcel Kohler makes the son's frustration, which is always on the point of erupting, into a volcanic rage of anger and love that has a lasting intensity. The four actors in the show are phenomenally good at interplaying gestures of love and hate, touching and rejecting and being completely uninhibited in their interaction. Anja Schneider (as the desperate, very young, highly erotically charged mother) fights breathlessly, trembling, not believing in the future of her family, while Linn Reuse's turns her secret dances into real highlights, enough to make you cry, but without ever sinking into weepy self-pity. And finally, Marcel Kohler makes the son's frustration, which is always on the point of erupting, into a volcanic rage of anger and love that has a lasting intensity.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Simon Strauss, 19.12.2016
With acting like this, when sparks like these fly, it’s worth paying full attention. Then you want to watch constantly as the stage becomes the world: the way a few words are turned into big dreams and empty gazes become accusations. Let your friends assure you on the way home that reality is quite different these days – it’s much too complicated to be reflected in these little glass animals. Let them say that the metaphors are too soft, the sentences too easy – they haven’t understood a thing. Because this is not about reality in the empirical sense. The play is set in the sphere of memory; it is emotional, not realistic, as the narrator Tom says at the beginning. And in doing so, he asks the audience to set their inner clocks, their heartbeats to a different, more sensitive rhythm!
[...]

What you see in this show is a true celebration of acting, in which the four actors are allowed to give everything they’ve got. The slapstick is entertaining, the punchlines punch, the audience is touched at the right moment – a feeling we mostly know from the cinema – while the acting carries a sense of metaphor that stirs emotions, and it all takes place in its original setting. Why? Because the director has the courage to let the tenderness of the play be tender – and the sadness sad.
With acting like this, when sparks like these fly, it’s worth paying full attention. Then you want to watch constantly as the stage becomes the world: the way a few words are turned into big dreams and empty gazes become accusations. Let your friends assure you on the way home that reality is quite different these days – it’s much too complicated to be reflected in these little glass animals. Let them say that the metaphors are too soft, the sentences too easy – they haven’t understood a thing. Because this is not about reality in the empirical sense. The play is set in the sphere of memory; it is emotional, not realistic, as the narrator Tom says at the beginning. And in doing so, he asks the audience to set their inner clocks, their heartbeats to a different, more sensitive rhythm!
[...]

What you see in this show is a true celebration of acting, in which the four actors are allowed to give everything they’ve got. The slapstick is entertaining, the punchlines punch, the audience is touched at the right moment – a feeling we mostly know from the cinema – while the acting carries a sense of metaphor that stirs emotions, and it all takes place in its original setting. Why? Because the director has the courage to let the tenderness of the play be tender – and the sadness sad.
Berliner Morgenpost
Elisa von Hof, 18.12.2016
In Kimmig's poetic staging where rain falls, candlelight glows, cold rays of sun shine, and of course, where he uses music to glue together inner and outer worlds, the American dream is of no use. It’s been shattered somehow. In a way that so many of us today can relate to – in a world where parallel universes are always just a click away and retreating into our comfort zone is so easy. Kimmig puts his finger on it: he questions the ''higher, faster,better'' aspect of our society, in which everyone is personally responsible for whether s/he climbs or slides down the wormwood-ridden corporate ladder. But he doesn’t present us with solutions. In Kimmig's poetic staging where rain falls, candlelight glows, cold rays of sun shine, and of course, where he uses music to glue together inner and outer worlds, the American dream is of no use. It’s been shattered somehow. In a way that so many of us today can relate to – in a world where parallel universes are always just a click away and retreating into our comfort zone is so easy. Kimmig puts his finger on it: he questions the ''higher, faster,better'' aspect of our society, in which everyone is personally responsible for whether s/he climbs or slides down the wormwood-ridden corporate ladder. But he doesn’t present us with solutions.

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