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Past Program

Jul 31 - Aug 10, 2010

Salzburger Festspiele Cooperation 2010 - Midsummer's Night's Dream

FSCOOP 1

Abstract

On each evening in the park setting, an audience of about 150 people was fortunate enough to lounge on comfortable podia distributed on the green in a true midsummer night. One could not help thinking that the visitors were staged as well, that they were a part of a picnic scene from a Jane Austen novel at the turn of the nineteenth century.

While some started to enjoy the contents of their luscious picnic baskets, others, like the actors (drama students from the Mozarteum university), were busy setting up their stage by carrying wooden planks across the lawn, then moving about among the audience, playing games and singing songs. When it was time for the play to begin, a couple of the performers walked over to the podia to call the audience over to the improvised theatre space, formed simply by a few tiers of benches at carefully graded heights.

But Salzburg is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Salzburg Festival and it is celebrating Max Reinhardt. Reinhardt was not only co-founder of the Festival, but also founded the Reinhardt-Seminar with the aim to promote students of drama and stage direction. Why not give them a chance to perform in one of Reinhardt's favorite plays? In our view they seized the chance magnificently, performing with such youthful and athletic brio that you hardly needed to understand a word of German to enjoy it.

Even though the indoor performances in the greenhouses of the Kunstgärtnerei Doll had been successful, it certainly was a different experience to see the play in the Schloss park. Since some scenes were quite lively, the running to and from the stage was muffled by the lawn, the Untersberg served as a spectacular backdrop, and the evening sky started changing color.

At the end of the play and after several rounds of applause, people turned around to admire the Schloss park, in a different light by then. The statue of Hercules, in the middle of a pond at the far end of the park, made a dramatic appearance, as did some of the trees whose lower branches were dipped in soft spotlights and now displayed shades of blue.

The leading actor of this night was indeed Reinhardt's park itself, beautifully re-staged by the countless hands of Festival staff, the Kunstgärtnerei Doll, and Do&Co. The theater genius would have been pleased to see his dream revived in such a splendid manner.