directed by: Christoph Marthaler
THEATER BASEL, Basel, Switzerland
running time 1h and 20 min
It's no secret that "enharmonic change" is a device in composition that allows certain sounds of the same pitch to be interpreted as other sounds, although they have different names (and are differently written). And it hardly needs to be mentioned that almost all composers of the past two centuries made use of this unique device. For good reason, too: it promotes the idea of transformation, and what’s more valuable in life than this? Nothing! Without the perpetual use of "enharmonic change" human connection is unconceivable. No marriage bonds, no secret alliances, not even the most innocent kiss on earth. And because this is so obvious and yet so mysterious and unexplored, Christoph Marthaler and his ensemble, with minimally invasive effort, unveil the outermost layer of the universal covering and look into the center of the enharmonic force: into the landscape of a peaceful night. It is tidy there. Gracefully decorated, with pleasant room temperature and softly colored wallpaper. In the middle of this room at last arises a smooth and tight object of desire: a king sized place to sleep. In here, where honest attention (loving union) and the most resolute absence (REM) of a conjoined twin-like existence reins; day after day and hour after hour great and insidious moments of human transformation take place. And because at least three people are needed to stand in place of devotion, allegiance and achievable enharmonic bliss, Tora Augestad and Michael von der Heide are accompanied by the mysterious man named Dethleffsen. In the truest sense of the word. A question remains: why is there another lady in this bedroom? It is clear that her interest in enharmonic change is insignificant. She moves almost silently between the chairs. Everything else remains to be seen.
Enharmonics is a musical composition approach based on the fact that two notes with different names can produce the same sound. According to Christoph Marthaler, human relationships would be impossible if human beings didn't use and abuse enharmonics. Seating or laying down on a king-size bed, a singing couple reviews an eclectic repertoire ranging from serial music to Michel Polnareff, by way of Bach and the Jackson Five. In this comedy that approaches boulevard theatre, the characters coexist without really perceiving each other and dreams take precedence over reality.
Born in 1951 in Erlenbach near Zurich. Studied music in Zurich and mime training under Jacques Lecoq in Paris. In the 1970s and 1980s he was employed as a theatre musician at various German-speaking stages and developed his first small music theatre projects in Switzerland. Frank Baumbauer then brought him to Basel Theatre in 1989 where he gave his first song evenings and presented his first productions. There, met the set designer Anna Viebrock and the literary manager Stefanie Carp, with whom he has formed a production team ever since.
From 1993 onwards various directorial work as in-house director at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg under the management of Frank Baumbauer and under Frank Castorf at the Berliner Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. From 1994 also opera projects with the conductor Sylvain Cambreling in Frankfurt, Berlin, Vienna and Salzburg.
In 1996 he was awarded the Konrad Wolf Prize, in 1997 together with Anna Viebrock the Bavarian Theatre Prize and the Fritz Kortner Prize and, in 1998, the Europe Prize in Taormina. In 1997 and 1999 he was voted director of the year in the critics’ survey of “Theater heute”.
In 1997 and 1999 he was voted director of the year in the critics’ survey of “Theater heute”.
In 2011 Christoph Marthaler was honoured with the most important prize in Switzerland for theatre makers, the Hans-Reinhart-Ring.
The Theater Basel has a mixed programme of dance, music and theatre encompassing classics, traditional works, contemporary dramas and modern musical theatre. Premières of new works and first performances of works in German contribute to a varied and exciting programme of events. The Theater Basel is also highly committed to the development and encouragement of the next generation and promotes experimental projects in all branches of the performing arts.
2010 Theater Basel is voted Opera House of the Year by critics in a survey carried out by the journal ‘Opernwelt’ for the second year in a row.