Städtische Bühnen Freiburg
Thursday 18 Nov. // 07:30 – 09:00 p.m.
Friday 19 Nov. // 05:00 – 07:30 p.m. and 10:00 – 11:30 p.m.
Choreographical theatre by Pavel Mikuláštik
Haman, a minister at the Persian imperial court, plans to exterminate all local Jews in a blood-bath. The Persian emperor Artaxerxes desires the beautiful Jewess Ester without knowing her racial heritage. The girl surrenders herself to the emperor as soon as she receives word of the planned destruction of her people. She uses her new status to prevent the massacre. With it, victims become felons and not love but revenge rules the ensuing developments.
This biblical story from the pages of the Old Testament, dating back somewhere between the first to third centuries B. C., serves as the basis for this thriller. The reason for its importance lies within the artful integration of three different time periods and its tremendous relevance to current events.
An elevator and the frightening noises of a train join an isolated room with the outside world. In it, nine people wearing costumes of the forties act out the Ester play. The imperial purple and graceful femininity, emigres’ fates and courties’ follies mix with substance-encroaching play acting, dancing, pretended improvisation and music.
In the recent past no other choreographer of the German dance scene but Pavel Mikuláštik was able to pick up on themes of exclusion and persecution in such a convincing manner. The fact that this breathtaking production was created in charming Freiburg is almost a contradiction and proves that meaningful theatre can also be found outside large theatre centres.
Mikuláštik studied at the conservatory in Prague, was a dancer at the Komische Oper Berlin under Tom Schilling and, later, worked in Graz and Vienna, with Hans Kresnik in Bremen, and with Gerhard Bohner in Darmstadt. From 1976 on followed freelance assignments as opera and drama producer. In 1990 he assumed the director duties of Freiburg’s choreographic theatre.
The play’s various levels also meet a common denominator in the music: the live-presented compositions of America’s Muneer Abdul Fataah and Switzerland’s Martin Hug to which New Zealand’s Trevor Coleman adds as a musician and Estland’s eminent contemporary composer Arvo Pärt through his pre-recorded music, serve significantly to the characterisation of Ester’s personality.
»Pavel Mikuláštik and his excellent Freiburg band of dancers contribute a very distinct colour to the palette of our stage spectrum; so powerful, tight and vigorous narrate few other dance theatre authors. ›Ester‹, that is the bible, retold by a master of the dance art« (Stuttgarter Zeitung, 20.11.1992).
»Even though ›Ester‹ is based on the Old Testament it is highly topical play …, it would be extremely easy here to promote polemics, the one-side accusations of guilt. Yet there are no dominant clear-cut, simplistic characters which the audience could label as either ›good‹ or ›bad‹. On the contrary, the characters are highly complex individuals, partly psychologically-disturbed people who in the course of the play go through various stages of change and evolution – excellently highlighted by the Freiburg dancers who intimately blend the elements of dance and acting« (Südkurier, Konstanz, 06.11.1992).
Das Gastspiel erfolgt im Rahmen des Nationalen Performance Netzes mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch Digital Equipment – das NPN wird betreut von Joint Adventures, München.
Regie und Choreografie: Pavel Mikuláštik
Musik: Muneer Abdul Fataah, Martin Hug, Arvo Pärt, Sergej Prokofjew
Bühnenbild: Cary Gayler
Kostüme: Maja Scholl-Lemck
Darsteller: Vladimir Kloubek (Artaxerxes, König von Persien), Ingrid Braun-Badie Massud (Waschti, seine Frau), Jiri Sova/Petr Stopka (Bigtan, königlicher Kämmerer), Martina Kuchler/Sirpa Arvola (Teresch, königlicher Kämmerer), Jan Sturmius Becker (Haman, Minister), Juliane Hollerbach (Seresch, seine Frau), Luc Vercruysse/Karel Vanek (Mordechai, hoher jüdischer Beamter, Onkel und Vormund Esters), Eva Cerna/Rafaele Giovanola (Ester, Vollwaise und Cousine Mordechais), Christian Bronder (Batlen, Erzähler)
Musiker: Trevor Coleman (Keyboards), Muneer Abdul Fataah (Violoncello), Martin Hug (Schlagzeug)
3rd Festival Year