The playwright Stephan Seidel (Staatstheater Mainz) presents his work in Imagines III – Magic and the Supernatural, Sept. 2012.
The playwright and director spoke in Mainz about the connections between his work and ancient myth and how this aspect is reflected in the staging of his plays.
On the process of creation and on the sources that have inspired him the author explained that they can emerge from two opposite directions: “they can either grow from a simple street observation and develop into a myth (like in “Pygmalion”) or be born as a myth (“Phaedra”) that is later reworked and reshaped as a modern textual and visual narrative”.
A further relevant characteristic in Seidel’s work is the association between a particular place and/or its history and the topic and other elements of the play. Examples of such choices are the location of the Open-Air staging “Ophelias Teich” (Ophelia’s Pond) before the impressive façade of the famous IG-Farben Building in Frankfurt – that hosted the monopoly of chemical production, among them the Zyklon B gas, during the National Socialist era – , as well as the election of the Harbour of Mainz as the setting for the theatre adaptation of the 2000 film “Shadow of the Vampire” during the Festival of Young Talents.
Particular attention was drawn during the talk upon Seidel’s reworking of Phaedra’s myth in his play “Deine Liebe ist vielleicht tragischer als meine, aber nicht deinTod“ (Your Love is Perhaps More Tragic than my Love, yet Your Death is Not) after Jean Racine. He explained to the audience how he reads the characters of the play and the world they live in and how these aspects are transferred into the Physis of the actors on stage, into their relationships, and how they are recreated within a given space and music. The conceptions of love and the impossibility of love at different levels are key themes in Seidel’s reinterpretation and adaptation of Phaedra. Examples of this are the role played by Aricia in both Hippolytus’ and Theseus’ world as well as Hippolytus’ death as a consequence of a sort of escapism or Realitätsverdrängung.
Seidel is currently working on an adaptation of Medea’s myth: “Medea’s Erbe”.