Come and join us on the journey! The season 2018/19 at the Münchner Kammerspiele

Please find the booklet of the season in a downloadable version below.

My team and I will leave the Münchner Kammerspiele in 2020. I am sorry about that. At the same time, I see the farewell facing us as a chance to look differently at the next two seasons and to make a first assessment of what we’ve already done. The Kammerspiele lost members of its audience, but also gained new ones, especially young people: there are 10 percent more students in the theatre. And more tickets are being purchased over the counter, at 42 percent, it’s almost double what it was before our time. That means we’ve managed to create interest for the Kammerspiele among a diverse audience who decide spontaneously and know exactly which productions they want to see. Our house has made many people aware of and curious about theatre and that is a great success.

We are very happy that two of our productions, “Trommeln in der Nacht” (directed by Christopher Rüping) and the black copy of “Mittelreich” (directed by Anta Helena Recke based on the production by Anna-Sophie Mahler), have been invited to the Theatertreffen 2018. The Münchner Kammerspiele is the only theatre with a double invite to Berlin. Apart from that, actress Wiebke Puls will be awarded the 3sat Prize during the Theatertreffen for her performance in “Trommeln”. We are just as happy to be able to take part in the Wiener Festwochen for six days, namely with “Tiefer Schweb”, a production by Christoph Marthaler and Susanne Kennedy’s “The Virgin Suicides”. These invitations make me proud and I’m glad that our productions get to travel. That way more people have the chance to get to know our theatre. I’m looking forward to the next two years with you. We will continue working as we have been, you know the way we make theatre now and lots of you appreciate it.

Maybe you remember the “Schlachten” project by Luk Perceval? Frank Baumbauer opened his term as Artistic Director with it, a twelve-hour version of Shakespeare’s histories. Christopher Rüping, our house director, will attempt something similar. To open the 2018/2019 season, he will stage a spectacle from Ancient Greece. He will cast a small group of actors, who will put on a ten-hour performance with three tragedies and one comedy – as was usual in ancient performance practice. I like these megalomaniac formats that overload us in the audience: one of my farewell projects at the HAU in Berlin was a 24-hour production of David Foster Wallace’s novel “Infinite Jest” in locations that were examples of utopian concrete architecture from the seventies. For the Ancient Greece project, theatre from the Greek cult site Epidaurus will take over the Kammerspiele, which means we’ll be showing openair spectacles in a Jugendstil theatre, a space that usually lends itself more to intimate performances. Ancient theatre, which was based on ritual and long ago once replaced religion, will occupy a bourgeois space for ten hours. You know the feeling of binge-watching, a series marathon that we surrender ourselves to every now and again: one more episode, two or three… in the Ancient Greek spectacle it will be our ensemble keeping you enthralled for the night.

Stefan Kaegi, on the other hand, will put a robot on stage. We don’t think twice about using robotic hoovers, and care robots have been around for a while now. The social upheaval caused by intelligent machines will soon be a concern for all of us. Stefan Kaegi investigates this in “Uncanny Valley”. His robot will emulate the writer Thomas Melle. When this happens in a theatre, it raises the question: how will this robot act? How will it move? And in fifty years will robots be superior to people? In any case, the production manager is looking forward to being able to plan a tour without having to think about casting preferences and availability. The robot can perform three shows in a row without getting tired. But what will we miss in its performance, where’s the difference – or worse, what will we not miss? Both Rüping’s Ancient Greece project and Kaegi’s robot will push theatre to the extreme and us, the audience, into disorientation.

After his last piece “Juliet & Romeo”, Trajal Harrell will now choreograph a show about a gardener, the beauty of the world and its threatened end in the Kammer 2. In “Juliet & Romeo”, I was incredibly grateful for the warmth of the world he portrayed. His interest in fashion and his soft spot for beauty is something that links his productions with the city of Munich. The current show will continue in this vein.

I am also happy that Susanne Kennedy and Yael Ronen will continue their work with the Münchner Kammerspiele. Yael Ronen is interested in the Bible’s creation story – Genesis, an almost philosophical text. I believe that people from the Middle East, especially from Israel, have a different relationship to the Bible and the Talmud. They live in biblical cities. Eden is not paradise, but simply a beautiful mountain area in Israel and Lebanon. For us, places in the bible are places from sermons. For Israelis, they are places from everyday life among start-ups, weekly markets and attacks. After her previous shows based on films or literature, which she condensed to form identity destroying machines, Susanne Kennedy is now interested in classical dramas. She goes back to Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, precisely because she is interested in theatre again. Her productions challenge our thinking, they are strenuous exercises of the most beautiful sort. That she is embarking on a new path with the Chekhov piece in Munich makes me especially happy. Munich is the city where her work started to take off and make its way into the world.

It makes me happy to see how the ensemble has grown closer over the last three seasons. Awards like the Theatre Prize from the city of Munich in 2017 for Annette Paulmann and the 3sat Prize for Wiebke Puls prove how high the quality of acting is, with which we work with plenty of desire to experiment. Maybe it’s also the pressure from outside that has brought us so close artistically. We really have fun working together.

We’re drawing a large chronological arc in the new season: we’re bringing the Dionysian cult back to life and at the same time questioning the effects of artificial intelligence. I’m interested in the contradictions between a theatre that is exclusively built on actors and a robot that replaces them, and no doubt we’ll have a lot of laughs about its inadequacy. Come and join us on the journey!

Best wishes, Matthias Lilienthal

The booklet of the season as download