Such a living event could never be generated by computers – letters to the editor

Musical theater piece Schauinsland

By Hiltrud Hainmüller (Freiburg)

On, 29. June 2021

Letters to the editor


On: “Fred Astaire is surprised by the snow”, contribution by Alexander Dick (Culture, June 21)

Successful unity of text, music and stage design – I cannot share Alexander Dick’s criticism of an alleged “dramaturgical indecision” in the production of “Schauinsland”.

The English author Pamela Carter shows the possible inner perspective of the English schoolboys – presented in excellent body language by Freiburg children and young people – who, inspired by a male thirst for adventure, unconditionally follow their charismatic teacher even in the hour of greatest danger. The string quartet, here following the text with a sensitive rhythm on a high musical level, lets the inner voices of the children become audible, their fears, their insecurity, their hope of repentance. The composition by Jan Dvorak is accordingly filigree, many flageolet tones, repetitions in different registers, restless accompanying music, mostly in piano or pianissimo, sometimes swelling, but quickly ebbing again and yet constantly present. Again and again the attempt to develop a nice, calming melody, which however cannot prevail, breaks off, ends in redundant repetitions. These voices are superimposed by the drum set, electric bass, the beat reminiscent of marching music and the catchy tune of the Strand School anthem, which silence the inner voices: “Advance, advance”. In this way, on the musical level, an atmosphere is created in close interweaving with text and image, which allows danger, fear and hope as well as disturbance through manipulation and ideological obscuration to be heard and felt at the same time.

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Such a living event could never be generated by a computer. To bring it close to patterns of minimal music is arrogant and devaluing. Through the diorama, the audience can look through a window into a world whose narrow frame leaves little room for individuality and freedom. The questions about the fatal effects of ideologically charged male megalomania and the seductibility of children’s souls extend to our present day. This is exactly what this staging shows through a successful unity of text, music, stage design, props, costume and lighting design.

Hiltrud Hainmüller, Freiburg

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