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Past Program

Aug 07 - Aug 14, 2011

Salzburger Festspiele Cooperation 2011 - Midsummer's Night's Dream

FSCOOP 2

Abstract

In 2010, 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.

(photos below, and the linked photos, are from the 2010 performances)


 


But Salzburg was celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Salzburg Festival and 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.

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.

The performances scheduled for August 2011 promise to be just as elegant and memorable!