Einstein on the Beach

You don’t know how much I love Bauhaus. Back in my first semester at university I had a class dealing with ideas and conceptions of space and a huge part of that was reading about Bauhaus – as a consequence of this I am obsessed with Bauhaus. I went to Dessau to visit the original Bauhaus school and some of the houses they built and I took a two hours walking tour around Tel Aviv’s ‘White City’ which I love. And a couple of weeks ago I went over to a friend’s place and I in his living room he had one of these Bauhaus chairs and the whole night I was like: Damn, that chair is the most interesting thing around here.

Anyway, Bauhaus was which made me read and do some research about Kandinsky’s Pictures of an Exhibition and I pretty much forgot about it and how great I thought it was when I came across it – until I sat in Haus der Berliner Festspiele and saw the students’ preview of Einstein on the Beach last Sunday.
To begin with: I’m not a friend of extrem theatre experiences. I’m not like “Yay, let’s go and see the 24 hour theatrical event to Infinite Jest!” like some class mates of mine. I don’t really enjoy Frank Castorf’s 5 hours long adaptions of stuff. And I’m not a huge Wagner fan – which actually has other reasons than the pure duration, but…it’s another story. I like my evenings at the theatre to be short-ish. Anything between 1 and 3 hours and I’m absolutely fine.

Einstein on the Beach  is 4.5 hours long with not regular intermission. Audience members are to leave the auditorium whenever they feel like it (or just really need a bathroom or a cigarette). I don’t like to miss anything but I also am 5’11” with long-ish legs to store unter the seat. Let’s just say: I did see the whole thing without my own personal intermission and yes, my legs hurt.
But it was so worth it. (and with that I’d like to thank my lovely friend W. who asked me if he should get me a ticket last November)
My only Robert Wilson experience to that point had been his production of the Three Penny Opera at Berliner Ensemble which caused a not so nice migraine attack afterwards and stuff. So I was a little not so excited and suspicious.

Of course, there were some things (or better: noises) which I would have liked to just stop (Will you stop that ALREADY!), but nope – over all it was so great and I can totally see why the first ever performance of that piece changed the game in contemporary opera.
I here have to admit – yes, I’m a fan of contemporary (classical) music, and yes, I like watching stuff with not so much plot/no plot at all. I like pictures. Just like Kandinsky’s ‘installation’ Pictures of an Exhibition there are sounds and pictures, tableaus unfolding before your very eyes and it takes so long and you feel a little weird watching things being done over and over and over again, but it also makes to adapt to what you see.
And I was left in awe about the dancers who danced physically challenging choreographies and I actually think these dances we the most Einstein-y thing about that production.

I guess my favourite part was the most minimalistic/Bauhaus/architectural moment of theatre I’ve ever seen: a enlightned, long rectangle was just pulled up to ‘stand’ on the smaller side with the room being completely dark around it. (and a Soprano aria was sung) Good Lord, this is just a really bad discription!
The first thing I said afterwards was actually regarding that part because one of my friends missed it taking a break: You totally missed the best part!

It may sound rather pathetic, but I think with seeing Einstein on the Beach I really whitnessed a mile stone of (musical) theatre history that might one day become even more important to me than it is now. I have a feeling. And I finally have the feeling I whitnessed ‘my’ Pictures of an Exhibition.
Because I’m a nerd.

(head over to my Facebook page to read what I wrote right after I arrived at home after the performance: Theaterkind on Facebook)

Did you have a similar experience that made you think: Yes, that’s definitely theatre history I’m whitnessing?

I’d be glad to hear about it!



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