'MARTHALER AT HIS BEST' was how Deutchlandfunk described this masterpiece of theater – An artistic summit meeting in a Swiss – Everyday transcenders Christoph Marthaler and Dieter Roth in the pharmacy.
No one expected a pandemic when Christoph Marthaler planned his production in a pharmacy stage set and began rehearsals. The aseptic, neutral pharmacy was a space for Marthaler to approach Dieter Roth: an artistic soulmate of Marthaler, this other great Swiss artist had left his mark on 20th-century art with his mold paintings and with his obeisance to dirt and the non-perfect.
Roth, a truly interdisciplinary artist, also left behind a large body of poetry and once during his lifetime gave Marthaler his book Das Weinen (Das Wähnen), Band 2A (Tränenmeer 4): a collection of scenic word-artistry with role names such as 'Setzei', 'Dochherein' or 'Einerdemschwindelt 1'. In Marthaler's production, five actresses and a rather silent man turn these original texts into virtuoso linguistic art. Roth's texts reveal, spoken, their polysemantic quality of being simultaneously concrete and abstract, unambiguous and ambiguous. Here, once again, apparent becomes the Marthaler principle of musical staging, which creates a smooth transition from spoken to sung text.
Production: Schauspielhaus Zürich
Coproduced with Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, Nanterre-Amandiers – centre dramatique national, Bergen International Festival, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne and International Summer Festival Kampnagel, Hamburg.
Supported by Georg und Bertha Schwyzer-Winiker Stiftung and Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung
Born in Erlenbach near Zurich, Christoph Marthaler has been working as a theater and opera director since the 1980s at the Theater Basel, the Volksbühne Berlin, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, the Münchner Kammerspiele and many other major theaters. His productions range from musical, collage-like evenings to idiosyncratic interpretations of the classics.
From 2002–2004 Christoph Marthaler was the artistic director of the Schauspielhaus Zurich, which was twice the Theater of the Year during this time. In 2004, Christoph Marthaler received the Theaterpreis Berlin together with Anna Viebrock. In 2010 he was artiste associé (together with Olivier Cadiot) at the Festival D'Avignon, from 2018 to 2020 in the same function at the Ruhrtriennale. Numerous of his productions have been invited to the Berlin Theatertreffen.
Marthaler's opera productions have been seen in Paris, Zurich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Madrid, at the Salzburg Festival and Bayreuth Festival among others. In 2015, Christoph Marthaler was awarded the Golden Lion of the theater section of the Venice Biennale for his oeuvre. In 2017 he received the Zurich Art Prize, and in 2018 the prestigious International Ibsen Prize. His productions are invited to festivals worldwide and some of them are performed over many years.