Current Issue, Volume 17

BRACK IMPERie. About “Hedda Gabler” by Vinge/Müller at Norske Teatret Oslo

By Thomas Oberender

When I asked the friendly salesman at the ticket counter of Det Norske Teatret how long the performance of Hedda Gabler by Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller lasts, he said, officially four hours, but we gave the artists carte blanche at our house. On the last evenings, it was about four hours, but each evening is different and shows something different from Ibsen’s play. And I don’t have to worry, the artists won’t provide a break, but everyone can come and go as he wants, like to take the drinks into the hall, that’s fine and you don’t have to have a guilty conscience. Has he already seen the performance? Yes, two days ago, the young man replied, pause, and it had been the most intense theatrical experience of his life. After that, he didn’t want to see anyone at first. In leaving, I asked myself when I last heard something like this at a box office and thought the long trip to Oslo was worth it, to a city whose hotel rooms are priceless this weekend and the universal summer tourism, national Youth meetings, and a Pride Parade fill all parks, clubs, and pubs with young people. Although alcohol sales stop at half past eleven o’clock, no one seemed to be sober on the streets in the evening.

Det Norske Teatret is a unit in the Norwegian theatre dedicated mainly to the performance of plays written in Nynorsk. This New Norwegian is, in addition to Bokmal (book language), a purely written language, which was invented in the middle of the 19th century by the linguist Ivar Aasen to develop an umbrella language to cover the various regional dialects of Norwegian, which the Norwegians still speak today. Nynorsk has become internationally known in recent years mainly through the plays of Jon Fosse, who turned this artificial language into an artistic language and leads his characters in this language to the boundaries of spoken expression. The invention of Nynorsk helped Norwegians invent themselves in the 19th century because, after 400 years of Danish rule, their own language became an important element of the young nation’s new identity. Politics and society in Norway are still occupied today with this critical and liberating “national project,” and so are its artists, including Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller. The fact that their work in particular has been bitterly attacked and defamed by right-wing populists in recent years is not only explained by the radical aesthetics of their productions but also stems from their ongoing confrontation with the dark sides of the seemingly enlightened Norwegian welfare state. Vinge/Müller’s preoccupation with the assassin Anders Behring Breivik, corruption, the political shift to the right, or the censorship of performances critical of the government has been part of their plays for years. Their performance is also most appropriate for a house with this specific sensitivity to language and history.  Thus they have  combined the announcement of Hedda Gabler on the theatre’s website with the call “Free Julian Assange.” 

The exhibition

The visit to the performance of Hedda Gabler began in the foyer of the theatre with an exhibition. This showed eight oversized drawings on partition walls immediately outside the doors to the hall, showing free versions of classic film posters, including several posters of the Rambo series, Rocky, Top Gun, Alien, and Attack on the 50 ft. Woman, Pulp Fiction, or 81/2. Vegard Vinge’s over-posters painted with Edding pens seem naïve and brutal at the same time. They show actors in mainstream cinema, which at the same time represent images of individual rebellion and otherness. As images and figures of thought, they are part of the private pantheon of Vinge/Müller, whose inhabitants and heroines often develop mythical greatness. In it, the artists are extremely close to their author Henrik Ibsen, who wrote monumental plays such as the Julian drama Emperor and Galilean, a Viking tragedy or a verse epic about the religious fanatic Vicar Brand  – all these pieces reinterpreted mythical figures of history before Ibsen saw in his contemporaries those mythological patterns that made him world famous. Interestingly, it is precisely these scandalous worlds of the bourgeois class from Ibsen’s greatest creative period to which Vinge/Müller have dedicated their entire staged oeuvre for more than 25 years. This is about as unreal as the idea that Frank Castorf would never have stopped staging Fyodor Dostoyevsky or that Jürgen Gosch never wanted to perform anything other than Chekhov’s plays. 

In this sense, Vinge/Müller’s long-term meditations on Ibsen’s work are a unique phenomenon in the theatre world, as is their use of these dramas from the capitalist Wilhelminian period to analyze the late modern capitalism of today. In his mythological cosmos, Ibsen created bourgeois archetypes and anti-heroes, enemies of the people and Peer Gynt. These iconic figures have grown in the work of Vinge / Müller year after year, to which the foyer exhibition bears witness: there is a version of Fellini’s 8 ½ as a production of Ragnar Brovik, i.e. a figure from Ibsen’s The Master Builder. Directly on at the house entrance and also prominently on the website of the theatre is ane Pulp Fiction poster variant, which announces the 7th part of the Ibsen Saga by Vinge / Müller under the title General Gabler’s Daughter. The poster shows a diva in Betty Page style, wearing an iron cross with an inverted swastika around her neck and holding an open copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf in her hands. Next to her lies the famous pistol of the general, with which Hedda Gabler will shoot himself at the end. Behind her naked buttocks, a naked man kneels at the edge of the picture and what he is doing is explained in a speech bubble: “Lövborg eating Hedda’s ass out.” What is latently contained in the pieces, the many corpses under the carpet, the laboriously moderated scandals that explode into pieces at some point, escalate in the performances and posters of Vinge/Müller as early as the first minute. How far this engagement with Hedda Gabler goes back in the working history of the artists is revealed in the announcement admission price 16 euros, because this poster was already designed in 2018, “Produced by 12-Spartenhaus”, i.e. in the years of the Berlin residence of Vinge/Müller. 

At that time, a theatre idea arose in the venues in Berlin’s Prater and Nationaltheatre Reinickendorf, according to which every genre becomes art in their productions  – not only ballet, opera, or drama, but every trade for itself, the space, the costumes or the sound, film, and painting. In the Prater and the former munitions factory of the National Theatre in Reinickendorf, large theatre installation rooms were created in months of detailed work, which were further expanded with each performance. Today, twelve overseas containers house the heritage of these theatre art buildings and they do not really stop with the various productions of the theatre family around Vinge/Müller. Since Ibsen is the continuous author of all their works, all their late pieces become a network where the figures of one piece constantly speak to those of another piece, are connected, and become part of the modern myth cosmos of Vinge/Müller. Ibsen’s figures are associated on the posters and in the performances with the myths of popular culture, trash, pop, and the modern artistic icons of social disobedience. Thus, the audience’s opening position is already in the middle of the play and the selection of posters gives many clues to the spirit and style of the evening which will follow. 

The supermen and superwomen of these posters are fighters according to their own law, like Julian Assange, to whom this evening is dedicated. The drastic physicality and sexuality of the images are an indication of that special meaning of the body, which becomes the organ of liberation. This is what the references to Otto Mühl or the mothers with their “squirting Rheingold juice” stands for. They are cleansing ritual posters, pictures of men and women cleaning up and breaking out like Rambo or Sigourney Weaver. Vinge/Müller’s performance aims to create the same form of intensity, stretching, and dissolve time as they condense space into multiplex rooms. The performances by Vinge/Müller, like these drawings, are extremely drastic and delicate at the same time. The nature of these idols is designed down to the smallest detail and at the same time bursts with extreme sexual and associative energy.  The figures and elements on each poster seem to want to go beyond the frame of the picture and yet the exhibition shows a continuous authorial line. Vinge’s peculiar pictorial world between pop and comic creates a consistent style that is brightly colored and childlike, funny and cunning, but above all plays with strong affects, quite opposed to bourgeois tranquillity. 

Before the Curtain

Upon entering the hall, the washable curtains in front of the stage are closed and the dark piece Masked Ball by British composer Jocelyn Pook runs from the soundtrack of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. In the film, it is heard while Tom Cruise participates in the sexual ritual of a secret organization. Control panels for light, sound, and video are installed in the last row, across the entire width of the theatre, behind which the team, in clown makeup and red wigs, sit at the controls. On the curtain is the projection of a man in a black cape and eye mask, who comes from Kubrick’s film, and looks darkly into the hall. On the railing of the right gallery, a hand-painted poster appears to belong to him, showing a triangle above which is printed “Trekanten” (triangle) and below it: “BRACK IMPERieT”.  Why does Brack rule? The Gablers’ house friend – an emperor? While audience members are taking their seats an attendant provides transparent rain capes to those in the first row.  Then technically distorted words of greeting burst from the loudspeakers.  These are also projected live by speech recognition software as text on a screen. 

The drama begins with a film that, as can be seen from the sounds, is shot live behind the curtain. In front of the flags of Norway and the USA, the actors of assessor Brack and Jörgen Tesman draw blood from their arms. In close-up, the placement of the needle and the tapping of the blood from the vein can be seen. Finally, Tesman, using the tube end of his catheter like a felt-tip pen, paints his name on a contract with large blood letters. A pact is made whose mantra is “I love America and America loves me.”  Brack is not only a friend in the Gabler house but the master of ceremonies of a much larger operation. At the end, Tesman, the novice, receives a suitcase full of money. Unlike in earlier pieces by Vinge/Müller, their thin face coverings seem more individual and are not immediately recognizable as masks, but appear like a second, mysterious face.  Brack is reminiscent of the young Sean Connery and Tesman distantly reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino. Part of the signing ceremony is the placing of a life-size doll of Julian Assange into a cage with the number 93. He bears the address of the royal maximum security prison Belmarsh in London, from where Assange will soon be extradited to the United States. And part of the deal is also the humiliation of Tesman by the sinister brotherhood of the “Trekants”, whose members later exorcise his idealism of art and insert an assault rifle into his anus. 

Hedda Gabler. Directed by Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller. Photo: Aftenposten

This prelude creates  ]an unusual framing for Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, in which Brack plays the central role. In Ibsen’s play, at the end of the drama, he will blackmail Hedda and try to make her his mistress. In Vinge/Müller’s reading, the family and Hedda are in his hands from the very beginning, as the entire country is ruled by a clandestine organization whose master of ceremonies is this assessor Brack, a revenant of the occult club of the powerful from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. Ibsen’s secondary figure has gone from being a lawyer and public servant to a modern Godfather, the face of an invisible system that pulls on hidden strings with violence, propaganda, and money. This Brack wears a stoically smiling mask and elegant suits and takes whatever he wants. But suddenly the language of the evening changes and on small sketch sheets of the storyboard, a journey through the 130-year-old piece begins in quick succession. After the backstage cinema, a pre-produced animated film begins, which strings together animated drawings by Vergard Vinge: In the first act, the general’s daughter Gabler appears as the daughter of Papa Patton.  Small details in the Kuli drawings have been set in motion, which is funny to look at. In the sketches of the second act, you can see how Hedda shoots her former lover Lövborg, in the third act there is a duel between Hedda and Lövborg’s new companion Thea Elvsted, who lives with him in the woods, far from the cities. The theme “Free in the Woods” combines the performance with an excursion about free theatre and the imprisonment of Assange, while the entire company of the play steps in front of the curtain in a row and a grandiose electric guitar solo is played, until to everyone’s surprise a break is suddenly announced from the command bridge.

Hedda Gabler. Directed by Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller. Photo: Aftenposten

The stage design

With fresh beer in their glasses, visitors return from the foyer as images from the first act are already playing on the curtain, which is filmed live and set to music inside the stage design. Movements and everyday actions are accompanied by artificial sounds and the speeches are read by an external voice. With the film images, the actual production design of the performance behind the curtain suddenly becomes visible, which is very different from all the team’s previous stage designs. This time, Ida Müller has furnished the Tesman family’s house like a realistic film set, with traditional furniture and modern pictures and posters on the walls, a working kitchen, and a study with DVD shelves. Only the masked figures with their exaggerated costumes are still reminiscent of the aesthetics of earlier performances, in which the complete set and costume consisted of hand-painted materials that combined to form an exuberant tableau of various ornaments and objects. 

Now, in the film set, the play, which has already been presented in its basic features, begins with a tracking shot that accompanies the landlord Jörgen Tesman on his way through the rooms of the villa.  The audience sees Aunt Julle making obscure cakes in the kitchen, while next door Hedda appears for the first time, shaving upside down in the bathroom in a slapstick scene. “Beauty” is her battle cry yet this Hedda, played by Sofia Hegstad Su, is indeed a menacing figure – appearing almost continuously naked appearance under long pearl necklaces and a latex mask with the face and hair of Marylin Monroe, mixed with the apathetic smile of the young Sphinx  Hanna Schygulla. At the end of her scene, the feces explode in the toilet bowl and shit pours over the walls of the bathroom in several eruptions. Sooner or later everything explodes that evening. 

The film on the screen shows Brack’s first appearance, who, not unlike the rhomboid of former Chancellor Merkel, forms the shape of a triangle with his hands while speaking with the voice of Darth Vader.  Lövborg, on the other hand, who appears at the side of his country lover Thea and looks like the obese troll from Ali Abbasis’s film Border, makes it clear, with the blood dripping from the corners of his mouth, that he is a character with whom no contract can be made.  With Lövborg, wild Norway knocks on the doors of the bourgeois salon.  And with that, more than two hours after the start of the performance, the curtain opens.

Exposing the scene

Dazzling light shines from the depth of the stage and the crackling of the curtain fabric, like every movement on stage, is amplified by the director’s bridge and exaggerated into the unreal. In addition, music by Ligheti is played and a closed black block now appears, surrounding on all sides the set in which the scenes in the house of Gabler have taken place in the past two hours.  From a mobile lighting bridge, a figure jumps through the plaster ceiling into the house; clouds of dust rise from the opening and then holes are seemingly shot into the rigid panels of the front of the house. Like starlight, the world sparkles out from within, then Hedda steps in front of the stage and slams further openings into the wall with a hammer from outside – baby whining can be heard from inside, Hedda is pregnant, and the curtain closes. Pause. Nothing is happening in the house.

A few minutes later, in front of the curtain, the naked men of the ensemble appear, wearing masks and standing tightly together. General Gabler, a real, heavy-blooded Gaul, rides past them on horseback. Hedda salutes and seemingly indiscriminately, General Gabler shoots one of his soldiers. So it goes round after round and each dead man, while the father rides the horse to the next return, is extensively splashed with blood from a bottle by Hedda. Audience members in the front row are splashed as well, and throw on their capes in a flash. Curtain, and again pictures from inside the villa as a projection. The camera shows Aunt Julle in the kitchen, Tesman in the study, and then the general’s horse and rider in Hedda’s bedroom. She lies on her bed with the gilded tubular steel gable and she plucks the blonde strands of her wig, bored until her father hands her the pistol. 

Outside, on the side of the audience, a technician appears and cuts elegant, organic openings into the plasterboard of the front of the house with an electric hand saw. Behind it, the study life of Tesman and the kitchen work of Aunt Julle continues unchanged.  In between, she paints the unpainted walls of the newly occupied villa, and Hedda flits among an imposing collection of weapons on her bed, while Brack appears and can be seen in a film projection and the desperate Troll-like Lövborg, deeply troubled by Hedda, is seen drunk in the dark forest, inconsolable by his companion Thea. All these processes are part of a tableau of simultaneous events in the three rooms and on the big screen above. In this tableau, everything happens at the same time and yet  each one is filmed, set to music, and dubbed on its own – in the hall it smells of the fried eggs of Aunt Julle and in a projection reads: “Forgive us, Julian.”   Curtain. 

Great opera on a small stage

In a sack the size of a weather balloon, Tesman drags Lövborg’s lost manuscript over the forestage, gets tangled, falls, stands up, and carries heavily on the great work that misfortune has put into his hands. In the house, Brack satisfies himself with Hedda and hands her a gold watch in gratitude – she, like everyone in this house, is the prostitute of his system, and her husband Tesman, finally at home, bravely tries not to notice anything and prefers to give away the precious DVDs from the director’s collection to the audience. The pact that Tesman made with Brack in his Tarantino mask is a bit like the pact that Tarmade made with Harvey Weinstein – it is these side events that suddenly set up delicate signs in the midst of the brutal events. After a few, long moments, a door suddenly squeaks, and “nothing” happens, or an aria sounds in which time suddenly stands still and all the struggles of the characters connect with those of others. For example, when shortly afterward Purcell’s otherworldly aria remember me from Dido and Aeneas is heard in a burlesque scene, because the breasts of Aunt Julle, suddenly add a spray of milk to the transparent capes of the visitors, seeking the lips of the tender sapling Tesman. 

Laughter turns into terror and terror into deep sympathy, and so the striking course is created, in which the audience experiences the events of Ibsen’s play on stage as for the first time, because visitors and performers take a journey into the hinterland of the text, into the youth of the general’s daughter or the forests of the society’s dropout, and thereby experience the real risk that the artists take when, as in a computer game, they understand the next scene as a quest, in which the solution of the task always remains part of a search.  Some guests of the performances of the previous day have described the piece as played almost “off the page” the night before when it ended after four hours. On this evening, after four hours, the fourth act was far from in sight, but rather the performance was reassembled live from the films and various scenes were played again and again before at last being completed live. 

In a banquet scene, Lövborg gets drunk in Hedda’s house and the dinner ends in a bubble bath, whose glittering streams pour out of the openings of the house.  In these moments, between all the films, characters, and sounds, the smallest stage of the great Norske Teatret develops an opulence of means like a great opera production. Vegard Vinge storms onto the scene in his chubby children’s mask under a whirling head wig  and kicks violently from outside on the stage walls of Tesman’s study,  causing hundreds of DVD covers with the films of his private collection to fall into the rubble so that this debris does not remain just “theatre.” 

The destruction of Lövborg’s free spirit in this banquet scene is shown in the performance as a physical and vocal battle between Hedda and Lövborg’s life support Thea, who is shocked to see her idol plunge into the abyss and wriggle out of his abdomen on stage in a hemorrhage. She falls into a song that is performed live, sung on the command bridge, from the stage as a pop song with a technically alienated voice, until the sounds detach from the words and are only sound, the abstract lament of a creature that has looked too deeply into the truth of the circumstances. Behind the stage, the screams fade away, while Joselyn Pook’s dark choirs from Eyes Wide Shut sounds again, to which the Nordic godfather assessor Brack appears under the Kubrick Cape. As in Eyes Wide Shut, the ceremony, which now begins on stage, surrounds and performs a female sacrifice and Hedda is the victim. She pours over her body hot candle wax, every drop is accompanied by the control desk with the sounds of the laser cannons from old computer games. The live camera shows the wax trickle on Hedda’s skin, but no reporter camera photographs this ritual. 


As in Kubrick’s film, the power of the hooded men in this scene is based on keeping their secret, no image of them leaking out: the many hours of this unpredictable ritual remain under the veil of a testimony that is only that of those present in the theatre. No theatre newspaper or video clip on Youtube depicts these moments of the evening. Even the most haunting description catches up with the brutal and at the same time subtle substances of these processes only rudimentarily. With the appearance of Emperor Brack, Vegard Vinge appears again on the scene himself – like a counter-magician, he shits on stage and pees in his mouth before painting over a portrait painting with his excrement and a lot of paint in his ass until the curtain settles over the scene. To the oversized projection of the maltreated image, the state of which one seems to literally smell, Lövborg gives a speech about the freedom of art, while Vegard Vinge trudges on the floor of the devastating study via his DVD collection: as if the evening needed this last victim;  but it’s not the last.

Beauty is the theme of Hedda and is the theme of Vinge/Müller, a beauty that keeps its distance from the bourgeois good. “Beauty, whose fixed idea dominates Hedda, Adorno wrote about Hedda Gabler, “stands against morality even before it mocks it. “And further: “The rebellion of the beautiful against the bourgeois good was turmoil against goodness. Goodness itself is the deformation of the good. “Not that this evening needs deeper explanations from Adorno, but his thoughts on Ibsen’s radicalism can be directly transferred to the aesthetics of Vinge/Müller. They are obsessed with their kind of beauty and create total works of art in which even the smallest detail of their performances is painted by hand and transferred from a baroque heaven of forms, sounds, and colors into a contemporary mythical world. Truly, it is that of the digital age, in which the theatre becomes a huge console where everything is played in real-time – with the power of pop, art, and cinema. Hedda’s fixed idea of beauty is also that of Vinge/Müller and so is Hedda’s dilemma.   

The piano on which Ibsen’s Hedda could play in the background before her suicide has already been chopped into chips with the hatchet in the performance – on this last evening of the Oslo performance series. She doesn’t die off-screen. She dies after the curtain opens again and shows Assange in his Cage No. 93 in London. She dies after Grand Inquisitor Brack murders Lövborg in front of a world map and injects blood into technical vials. Before the live camera, each syringe fabricates an exploding blood blister. Images of atomic bomb explosions and the Ukraine war appear on a parallel screen, accompanied by the voice of Norwegian NATO General Stoltenberg, who calls for more money and determination for armaments and war.  In Vinge/Müller’s reading, the role of assessor Brack goes far beyond the secret society of Kubrick’s men’s lodge. He represents a global system that feeds itself and steers the free into doom. Too clumsy? 

The Anonymous Mask of the Theatre

The discomfort with this background character of Assessor Brack is the engine of the performance. It is dedicated to the structure that, as a power in the guise of private goodness, destroys goodness. It is not crude to observe in Ibsen’s play how this power marginalizes and destroys the Lövborgs and also the Heddas of our society. Vinge/Müller have also been publicly ridiculed and denounced by hate campaigns by right-wing Identitarians in the last two years. This performance is an example of a “counter-attack” against this re-rationalization of national culture. Since the nineties, they have shown on stage another form of a secret society, which also wears masks. You don’t know who’s playing.  It is therefore strangely inappropriate to single out an actress like Sofia Hagstad Su as the actress of Hedda in an ensemble that remains anonymous on stage – men play women under their costumes in Vinge/Müller’s plays and vice versa: it could be technicians or musicians who appear on stage as characters, just like actors and actresses, because behind the mask another form of representation emerges, which is collective and just as powerfully unapproachable as the “system” – the theatre system as well as the political one, to which they react aesthetically and politically as an artistic community. After decades of scenic self-exposure and laborious authentication, they became the inventors of the Anonymous mask for the theatre, as it looks forward to us later from the works of Susanne Kennedy or Ersan Montag. 

A unique way of performing

Vinge/Müller’s theatre work runs the risk of becoming an outsider type of theatre. It is certainly an artist’s art, loved as art by artists and a circle of disciples growing over the years, for whom there is a female form in the German language, but in life it is. For many theatre people, the performances of Vinge/Müller are artistically among the best that can currently be seen on this planet. Nevertheless, their work crystallizes only every few years in a few performances, which quickly become legends. This may be due to the radical aesthetics of Vinge/Müller’s productions, which also produce their own way of performing at each location of their productions and must be installed in an infrastructurally complex manner. For every piece of Ibsen, which hardly exceeds three or four hours in its “normal” playing time, they have been developing for more than twenty years a multiple of “interpretation time,” which is pre-produced and provided in order to “mix” an original experience every evening in the encounter with the audience and themselves. The hardware required for this of various consoles and live systems is not a standard structure, but an alien technical complex that is installed by the team in the on-site equipment of all trades and then takes control of the stage events like its own game console. That takes time, love, and money. 

The performance in Oslo was created under municipal theatre conditions in just five weeks of rehearsal time. This was made possible by the spirit of people like that salesman at the box office, who is looking for exactly what can be created by the complex worldbuilding of Vinge/Müller, a free space that unites ritual and art, and it was precisely this Ibsen invasion that Erik Ulfsby, the artistic director of the theatre, wanted to make possible at his house. Without the know-how and the 12 overseas containers from 20 years of Ibsen research, this could not succeed. At the end of the performance, the slave Jorgen Tesman drags Lövborg’s manuscript snippets onto the devastated family scene and Hedda finally kills this “child” of her rival before killing herself. And so in the end the performance kills itself: The audience now gets drinks without announcement, the agony between beauty and the service contract in the Brack Empire lasts more than six hours when suddenly an excavator appears on stage. 

The maneuverable machine is led by the Norwegian world champion of excavator artists, who have already uncorked champagne bottles with his shovel on television. He carefully but relentlessly tears down the villa, where Aunt Julle paints the walls until the end and Tesman wants to arrange the shreds of Lövborg’s manuscript into his work. None of these efforts in B rack’s empire remains on this evening – with consummate dredging, the scene is dismantled after Hedda shot the bullet in his head in close-up. But who shoots Brack?

Dr. Thomas Oberender has served as head Dramaturg at Schauspielhaus Bochum, Co-Director at Schauspielhaus Zürich, and Head of Theatre at the Salzburg Festival.  He was Director of the Berliner Festspiele from 2012 to 2021 and Artistic Director of the Immersion programme that he created from 2016 to 2021. The re-examination of the historical transformation of Eastern Germany since 1989 has become an additional focus for his work in recent years. He has published numerous books, including Nebeneingang oder Haupteingang? – Gespräche über 50 Jahre Schreiben fürs Theater (Side Entrance or Main Entrance? – Conversations about 50 Years of Writing for the Theatre, 2014, together with Peter Handke), Leben auf Probe. Wie die Bühne zur Welt wird (Life in Rehearsal. How the Stage becomes a World, 2009), the anthology The New Infinity. New Art in Planetariums (2019), and most recently Empowerment Ost. Wie wir zusammen wachsen (2020).


European Stages, vol. 17, no. 1 (Fall 2022)

Editorial Board:

Marvin Carlson, Senior Editor, Founder
Krystyna Illakowicz, Co-Editor
Dominika Laster, Co-Editor
Kalina Stefanova, Co-Editor

Editorial Staff:

Asya Gorovits, Assistant Managing Editor
Zhixuan Zhu, Assistant Managing Editor

Advisory Board:

Joshua Abrams
Christopher Balme
Maria Delgado
Allen Kuharsky
Bryce Lease
Jennifer Parker-Starbuck
Magda Romańska
Laurence Senelick
Daniele Vianello
Phyllis Zatlin


Table of Contents:

  1. AVIGNON 76. A Festival of New Works by Philippa Wehle
  2. Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge in Portugal by Duncan Wheeler
  3. BRACK IMPERie. About “Hedda Gabler” by Vinge/Müller at Norske Teatret Oslo by Thomas Oberender
  4. Embodied Intimacy: The Immersive Performance of The Smile Off Your Face at Edinburgh by Julia Storch
  5. Fear, Love, and Despair – Radu Afrim: Director of Core Feelings by Alina Epîngeac
  6. Grec Festival de Barcelona, July 22 by Anton Pujol
  7. I Think of Curatorial Work in Scholarly Terms: An Interview with Ivan Medenica by Ognjen Obradović
  8. New Worlds Revealed in an Immigrant Journey, and an Unexpectedly Meaningful Universe Discovered and Destroyed Inside Styrofoam, at the Edinburgh Festival by Mark Dean
  9. Participation, Documentary and Adaptation: Barcelona Theatre May 2022 by Maria Delgado
  10. Report from Berlin, April 2022 by Marvin Carlson
  11. Report from Berlin (and Hamburg….) 5/2022 by Philip Wiles
  12. The Sibiu International Theatre Festival Transforms Dreams into Reality (The Magic of 2022 FITS in Short Superlative) by Ionica Pascanu
  13. Theatre in Denmark and The Faroe Islands – Spring 2022 by Steve Earnest
  14. The Polish Nation in a Never-Landing Aircraft by Katarzyna Biela
  15. The Piatra-Neamt Theatre Festival in Romania: 146 Kilometers from Heart to Heart by Cristina Modreanu
  16. Will’s Way at the Shakespeare International Festival Craiova 2022 by Alina Epîngeac
  17. Interview with the Turkish theatre critic Handan Salta on TheatreIST by Verity Healey


Martin E. Segal Theatre Center:

Frank Hentschker, Executive Director
Marvin Carlson, Director of Publications
©2022 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center
The Graduate Center CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York NY 10016

European Stages is a publication of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center ©2022


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