Romeo & Juliet Rehearsal, 2019 Photo: Dora Lutz

Why do I direct Shakespeare plays?

My first theatre experience was – as with most of us – at elementary school. We staged a play about the history of the Monastery of Andechs, I played a damsel, and it went all wrong. I vowed to never touch theatre again, off or on stage, until I started studying literature. The first Shakespeare play I directed was Richard III at Greifswald University, the rest, as they say, is history.

Being an introvert, directing gives me the means to express what I might otherwise not be able to communicate.

Being a Shakespeare geek, directing allows me, with cast & crew, to share Shakespeare’s words and his stories.

Being passionate about theatre, directing gives me the chance to put my own vision onto stage.

Having studied at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon and having lived there for three years, exposed me not only to an intense study time of Shakespeare and his works and everlasting friendships with many wonderful fellow-Shakespeare geeks (let us not forget those wonderful nights at the Dirty Duck when, after a couple of pints, we indulged in animated discussion about some footnote or other rendition of Shakespeare’s lines), but also to a vivid exploration of his plays on stage through the RSC, as well as countless trips to theatres in London.

When I returned to Munich in 2014, I became a drama teacher at the ESM, founded the ESM Players who premiered with Midsummer Night’s Dream. We then moved to Richard III, Macbeth and Shakespeare’s Complete Works.

Since you can never have too much Shakespeare in your life, I also started directing with Entity Theatre in 2014, one of Munich’s finest English amateur theatre club. My first production that summer was a 60-minute-adpation of Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Lederhosen- and Dirndl-wearing lovers that escape the harshness of Athens.

Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014 Photo: Tom Hafner

The following year, we embarked on Merry Wives of Windsor. We set it in Early Modern time, with colourful costumes and Sir John Falstaff prominently featuring a cod-piece, and even the set stepped up in elaboration: four doors! Not bad outdoor theatre, right?

Merry Wives of Windsor, 2015 Photo: Ken Lawler

In 2016 we presented As You Like It. The real stars were the sheep. This was also the first year in which a heavy rain shower doused cast, crew and audience, but no-one wavered. The show must go on! And on it did go.

As You Like It, 2016 Photo: Ken Lawler

2017 marked a new start with the Shakespeare summer open air productions. We moved into a new home: the Theatron at Westpark. Our debut there was Twelfth Night. The stage naturally offered itself to a fantastic shipwreck, the permanently installed stage allowed us to present Lady Olivia’s house. Note the shingles!

Twelfth Night, 2017 Photo: Tom Hafner

2018 then became a tragic year. No worries, no-one died – at least not off stage: we took on the one and only Hamlet. And it was a great success!

This year, we resume our tragical mirth by presenting Romeo & Juliet. You can follow our journey in the months to come on this blog. Enjoy.

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