Marat/Sade

by Peter Weiss
Director Stefan Pucher
Artistic management of the choir Christine Groß
Coaching puppets Hans-Jochen Menzel
Dramaturgy John von Düffel
Stage lighting Matthias Vogel
Mask Andreas Müller
Premiere November 27, 2016
Felix GoeserMarquis de Sade
Daniel HoevelsJean Paul Marat
Michael GoldbergSimonne Evrard, his wife
Katrin WichmannCharlotte Corday
Bernd MossDuperret, Cordays lover
Benjamin LillieJacques Roux, former priest
Anita VulesicaCrier / Director Coulmier
Chikara AoshimaMusician
Michael MühlhausMusician
Johanna MeinhardChoir
Tabitha FrehnerChoir
Victor TahalChoir
Viktor NilssonChoir
Johannes NussbaumChoir
Thomas PrennChoir
Mascha SchneiderChoir
Sonja ViegenerChoir
Daniel SéjournéChoir
Juno ZobelChoir
Marquis de Sade
Jean Paul Marat
Simonne Evrard, his wife
Charlotte Corday
Duperret, Cordays lover
Jacques Roux, former priest
Crier / Director Coulmier
Johanna Meinhard, Tabitha Frehner, Victor Tahal, Viktor Nilsson, Johannes Nussbaum, Thomas Prenn, Mascha Schneider, Sonja Viegener, Daniel Séjourné, Juno Zobel
Choir
nachtkritik.de
Simone Kaempf, 27.11.2016
Once again, video, Hammond organ and musical interludes play a definitive role in this Pucher show. As do puppets’ bodies and historical costumes that squash the actors into distorted poses. This is a major costume party in Grand-Guignol style and a show of self-expression, in which everyone tries to win favour. Felix Goeser as Marquis de Sade constantly interrupts everyone, here the despotic spokesman, there the temperamental director who wants to pull the strings, or at other times the tirelessly cheerful aristocrat who is beyond having faith in anything. [...]

The common people are dressed in grey suits, Beatles’ wigs and smudged lipstick – a pop-choir chorus, ready for violence. ''We want to live in prosperity'', says its ten heads with a force that makes Daniel Hoevels’ Marat look pale in comparison; this is a lunatic as cloned mass, who knows exactly what it wants. And which developes its power by barking out its demands. [...]

Subtle scenes take place about the gap between talk and action. The performances never pretend that the inflammatory speeches of the characters might lead to a solution. Stefan Pucher takes Peter Weiss' ideological open-endedness quite seriously.

But he also plays with it. The most influential actor is not Marat, or even Sade, but Anita Vulesica as the master of ceremonies. In a Punch and Judy booth, she introduces the story in short-legged fashion. Then she turns into a winking, joking presenter in black evening dress, because ''what would a revolution be without a snappy moderator?'' Not only snappily, but quick-wittedly and with dignity, Vulesica appeals for understanding on stage and is the show's most popular figure. And in the end, she appeases the lack of revolution with Comic style and a touch of Grand Guignol charm. After all, it’s just a Punch and Judy show – the revolutionary play, political subversion and the drama itself, which revolves around a play within a play – but one with a higher fun factor. And in this ironic show, what slowly emerges are irreconcilable positions, the impossible and absurd, and the process of going insane from all the debates. All questions about the state of world are left open; they are Pucher’s foundation for an extreme show of superior gallows humour.
Once again, video, Hammond organ and musical interludes play a definitive role in this Pucher show. As do puppets’ bodies and historical costumes that squash the actors into distorted poses. This is a major costume party in Grand-Guignol style and a show of self-expression, in which everyone tries to win favour. Felix Goeser as Marquis de Sade constantly interrupts everyone, here the despotic spokesman, there the temperamental director who wants to pull the strings, or at other times the tirelessly cheerful aristocrat who is beyond having faith in anything. [...]

The common people are dressed in grey suits, Beatles’ wigs and smudged lipstick – a pop-choir chorus, ready for violence. ''We want to live in prosperity'', says its ten heads with a force that makes Daniel Hoevels’ Marat look pale in comparison; this is a lunatic as cloned mass, who knows exactly what it wants. And which developes its power by barking out its demands. [...]

Subtle scenes take place about the gap between talk and action. The performances never pretend that the inflammatory speeches of the characters might lead to a solution. Stefan Pucher takes Peter Weiss' ideological open-endedness quite seriously.

But he also plays with it. The most influential actor is not Marat, or even Sade, but Anita Vulesica as the master of ceremonies. In a Punch and Judy booth, she introduces the story in short-legged fashion. Then she turns into a winking, joking presenter in black evening dress, because ''what would a revolution be without a snappy moderator?'' Not only snappily, but quick-wittedly and with dignity, Vulesica appeals for understanding on stage and is the show's most popular figure. And in the end, she appeases the lack of revolution with Comic style and a touch of Grand Guignol charm. After all, it’s just a Punch and Judy show – the revolutionary play, political subversion and the drama itself, which revolves around a play within a play – but one with a higher fun factor. And in this ironic show, what slowly emerges are irreconcilable positions, the impossible and absurd, and the process of going insane from all the debates. All questions about the state of world are left open; they are Pucher’s foundation for an extreme show of superior gallows humour.
SWR2
Ina Beyer, 28.11.2016
A fantastic play. Why is it so rarely performed? one wonders. Even more so after watching Stefan Pucher’s production. As wonderfully physical as it is meaningful, it puts the two protagonists – the narcissist de Sade and the socialist Marat – in the limelight, quite literally. Even Peter Weiss managed to cleverly combine witty and eloquent facts and fiction, history, philosophy and theatre in his complex play.
It centres on the mother of revolutions that took place once upon a time in Paris, and the question of how we are still affected by it; what change meant then and what it means now, who are ''the people'' – and who ''the other people''.

[…]

Town crier Anita Vulesica, who is brilliant – as is the entire ensemble – guides the show with its emphasis on ''illusions and sensations, original ghosts and apparitions''. These advertising slogans adorn the wall of the vaudeville theatre that serves as a theatre within a theatre. When the curtain is raised, you see a staircase as wide as the stage tapering to the rear, flanked left and right by portals that also taper off to the back. 
[…]

''Marat/Sade'' is Peter Weiss’ timelessly contemporary work on democracy and demagoguery, social movements and separation, the people’s rage and fieriness. Stefan Pucher and his impressive ensemble fan this rage with pop and politics. Wittily and wisely. Side-splittingly and slyly. Fantastic.
A fantastic play. Why is it so rarely performed? one wonders. Even more so after watching Stefan Pucher’s production. As wonderfully physical as it is meaningful, it puts the two protagonists – the narcissist de Sade and the socialist Marat – in the limelight, quite literally. Even Peter Weiss managed to cleverly combine witty and eloquent facts and fiction, history, philosophy and theatre in his complex play.
It centres on the mother of revolutions that took place once upon a time in Paris, and the question of how we are still affected by it; what change meant then and what it means now, who are ''the people'' – and who ''the other people''.

[…]

Town crier Anita Vulesica, who is brilliant – as is the entire ensemble – guides the show with its emphasis on ''illusions and sensations, original ghosts and apparitions''. These advertising slogans adorn the wall of the vaudeville theatre that serves as a theatre within a theatre. When the curtain is raised, you see a staircase as wide as the stage tapering to the rear, flanked left and right by portals that also taper off to the back. 
[…]

''Marat/Sade'' is Peter Weiss’ timelessly contemporary work on democracy and demagoguery, social movements and separation, the people’s rage and fieriness. Stefan Pucher and his impressive ensemble fan this rage with pop and politics. Wittily and wisely. Side-splittingly and slyly. Fantastic.
Berliner Morgenpost
Stefan Kirschner, 29.11.2016
Welcome to the world of Grand Guignol, the lunatic asylum of Charenton at the Deutsches Theater. Stefan Pucher stages ''The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade'' (''Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats dargestellt durch die Schauspieltruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade'') by Peter Weiss. This is perhaps the longest title of all time, but one that outlines the plot perfectly. At the Deutsches Theater, it is turned into ''Marat/Sade.'' A spectacle. A discourse. A delightful evening. ''Theatre totale'' where love and torture, murder, song and discussions are performed.
[…]

For his nearly two-hour production, Stefan Pucher makes do with two live musicians (Chikara Aoshima and Michael Mühlhaus), seven actors and a chorus. Felix Goeser plays a powerful, eloquent Sade, who freaks out as a director – a nice reflection on theatre – if it’s too loud onstage or if the auditorium light goes on because a break was due to take place after the first act, but he cancelled it.

Sade is the representative of individualism – today, he would perhaps be affiliated to the FDP. His diminutive counterpart Marat (Daniel Hoevels), one of the protagonists of the French Revolution of 1789 and a spiritual fore runner of socialism, sits in the bathtub to alleviate his (historically authenticated) skin disease that causes him terrible itching. He shouts for a pen and paper and is cared for by his wife Simonne – a role relished by Michael Goldberg. Charlotte Corday (Katrin Wichmann) is the somnambulant killer who repeatedly nods off. Her lover Duperret (Bernd Moss), a Girondist and erotomaniac, feels her up at every opportunity. Jacques Roux (Benjamin Lillie), an ex-monk and now ardent Marat follower, calls for an immediate end to arms exports and control of international finances, Attac-style, asking: ''Did I leave anything out?'' The wonderful Anita Vulesica plays the double role of mental asylum director and town crier: she rhymes, sings, dances – and appeases; because, ultimately, the play is set in the times of early 19th-century restoration when the bad times of the Revolution were over, and the new saviour’s name was Napoleon.
Welcome to the world of Grand Guignol, the lunatic asylum of Charenton at the Deutsches Theater. Stefan Pucher stages ''The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade'' (''Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats dargestellt durch die Schauspieltruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade'') by Peter Weiss. This is perhaps the longest title of all time, but one that outlines the plot perfectly. At the Deutsches Theater, it is turned into ''Marat/Sade.'' A spectacle. A discourse. A delightful evening. ''Theatre totale'' where love and torture, murder, song and discussions are performed.
[…]

For his nearly two-hour production, Stefan Pucher makes do with two live musicians (Chikara Aoshima and Michael Mühlhaus), seven actors and a chorus. Felix Goeser plays a powerful, eloquent Sade, who freaks out as a director – a nice reflection on theatre – if it’s too loud onstage or if the auditorium light goes on because a break was due to take place after the first act, but he cancelled it.

Sade is the representative of individualism – today, he would perhaps be affiliated to the FDP. His diminutive counterpart Marat (Daniel Hoevels), one of the protagonists of the French Revolution of 1789 and a spiritual fore runner of socialism, sits in the bathtub to alleviate his (historically authenticated) skin disease that causes him terrible itching. He shouts for a pen and paper and is cared for by his wife Simonne – a role relished by Michael Goldberg. Charlotte Corday (Katrin Wichmann) is the somnambulant killer who repeatedly nods off. Her lover Duperret (Bernd Moss), a Girondist and erotomaniac, feels her up at every opportunity. Jacques Roux (Benjamin Lillie), an ex-monk and now ardent Marat follower, calls for an immediate end to arms exports and control of international finances, Attac-style, asking: ''Did I leave anything out?'' The wonderful Anita Vulesica plays the double role of mental asylum director and town crier: she rhymes, sings, dances – and appeases; because, ultimately, the play is set in the times of early 19th-century restoration when the bad times of the Revolution were over, and the new saviour’s name was Napoleon.
Der Tagesspiegel
Christine Wahl, 29.11.2016
''Illusions, sensations, original ghosts and apparitions'' is daubed on the papier-mâché scenery, which has been built by stage designer Barbara Ehnes for the Deutsches Theater. For a change, the billboards aren’t promising much. And in fact, the Marquis de Sade, Jean Paul Marat, and other revenants from world history are soon jumping about on stage in the sweetest retro costumes imaginable.
[...]

Is this all just part of a cute, thigh-slapping show? Not quite. Ultimately, there is another protagonist in Weiss’s play: the people. ''Marat, what has become of our revolution / Marat, we didn’t want to wait any longer fortomorrow / Marat, we are still poor people / and we want the promised relieftoday'', they chant repeatedly.
[…] 

While the revolutionary leaders and antagonists marionette short-leggedly about the Grand Guignol theatre spouting -isms, Pucher's chorus does not scrabble around for discount bread, but strides about long-leggedly and done up to the nines, reciting its lists of demands. And it likes to do so post-factually with spot-on precision. At the end of his streamlined ninety-minute production, Pucher has his almost 12-member, elite-bashing ''people'' recite Marat – with frowns of anger on their flawless foreheads: ''You liars, you will always speak of the people as a crude and formless mass, because you live apart from them.'' And: ''At last we need a true representative of the people, a leader in times of crisis.'' A pretty unfunny finale to a Rocky-Horror revolutionary show!
''Illusions, sensations, original ghosts and apparitions'' is daubed on the papier-mâché scenery, which has been built by stage designer Barbara Ehnes for the Deutsches Theater. For a change, the billboards aren’t promising much. And in fact, the Marquis de Sade, Jean Paul Marat, and other revenants from world history are soon jumping about on stage in the sweetest retro costumes imaginable.
[...]

Is this all just part of a cute, thigh-slapping show? Not quite. Ultimately, there is another protagonist in Weiss’s play: the people. ''Marat, what has become of our revolution / Marat, we didn’t want to wait any longer fortomorrow / Marat, we are still poor people / and we want the promised relieftoday'', they chant repeatedly.
[…] 

While the revolutionary leaders and antagonists marionette short-leggedly about the Grand Guignol theatre spouting -isms, Pucher's chorus does not scrabble around for discount bread, but strides about long-leggedly and done up to the nines, reciting its lists of demands. And it likes to do so post-factually with spot-on precision. At the end of his streamlined ninety-minute production, Pucher has his almost 12-member, elite-bashing ''people'' recite Marat – with frowns of anger on their flawless foreheads: ''You liars, you will always speak of the people as a crude and formless mass, because you live apart from them.'' And: ''At last we need a true representative of the people, a leader in times of crisis.'' A pretty unfunny finale to a Rocky-Horror revolutionary show!
taz
René Hamann, 29.11.2016
What we have is very good, actor-led drama, as one has come to expect from the DT, under more than solid direction. Noteworthy performances this time from Felix Goeser as de Sade, the versatile Anita Vulesica as theatre director, and the expressive chorus consisting mainly of drama students. Marat, played by Daniel Hoevels with a beautiful, slightly mad facial expression, lost in his own world, also deserves a special mention. What we have is very good, actor-led drama, as one has come to expect from the DT, under more than solid direction. Noteworthy performances this time from Felix Goeser as de Sade, the versatile Anita Vulesica as theatre director, and the expressive chorus consisting mainly of drama students. Marat, played by Daniel Hoevels with a beautiful, slightly mad facial expression, lost in his own world, also deserves a special mention.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Irene Bazinger, 01.12.2016
With subtle fairground music, intermittent film fade-ins that recreate the wasteland Paris of the drama, and an expressly non-psychological narrative that renounces any aesthetics to stir up empathy, Pucher juggles almost Brechtian style with all sorts of alienation effects. And in so doing, he reclaims a straightforward, contemporary relevance for Weiss’ powerful discourse about how life on Earth could be good for everyone. Pucher takes the subject to heart in an undogmatic way and presents it, expertly and absurdly, as a merciless Punch and Judy show. The heavily abridged play, which does not even pass the 90-minute mark and is consistently brutal in its language, is adjusted to today’s outlook. Things turn serious in the second part – the puppets disappear and Marat’s death nears. As thrillingly overheated as the debate is, the circumstances are just as fatal: when Charlotte Corday reflects on her lethal visit to Marat, she pokes her head into a display case, as if it were already guillotined from her body, like the other six heads that are triumphantly on display. Pucher gives his thrillingly dialectical stage production – for all its garishness and illusory tricks – an existential seriousness, just as Peter Weiss, born a hundred years ago, visualised the essence of his play. Only Pucher does it in a less resigned way. With subtle fairground music, intermittent film fade-ins that recreate the wasteland Paris of the drama, and an expressly non-psychological narrative that renounces any aesthetics to stir up empathy, Pucher juggles almost Brechtian style with all sorts of alienation effects. And in so doing, he reclaims a straightforward, contemporary relevance for Weiss’ powerful discourse about how life on Earth could be good for everyone. Pucher takes the subject to heart in an undogmatic way and presents it, expertly and absurdly, as a merciless Punch and Judy show. The heavily abridged play, which does not even pass the 90-minute mark and is consistently brutal in its language, is adjusted to today’s outlook. Things turn serious in the second part – the puppets disappear and Marat’s death nears. As thrillingly overheated as the debate is, the circumstances are just as fatal: when Charlotte Corday reflects on her lethal visit to Marat, she pokes her head into a display case, as if it were already guillotined from her body, like the other six heads that are triumphantly on display. Pucher gives his thrillingly dialectical stage production – for all its garishness and illusory tricks – an existential seriousness, just as Peter Weiss, born a hundred years ago, visualised the essence of his play. Only Pucher does it in a less resigned way.

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