The conversation between Alexander Kluge and Martin Wuttke, former director and current member of the Berliner Ensemble, revolves around different forms of dramatic expression, based on the analysis of stage productions by Heiner Müller, Einar Schleef and Robert Wilson.
Wuttke describes the rehearsals for Heiner Müller’s production of Brecht’s “Arturo Ui.” Müller was particularly interested in the metamorphosis of a character during the rehearsals and challenged the actors to become creative themselves. Kluge and Wuttke then proceed to discuss Müller’s dramatic practice, in particular the fragment as art form.
In Einar Schleef’s production of Goethe‘s “Faust II”, scenes of which are shown in an intermission, Wuttke played the double role of Faust/Mephisto. He suggests that there is an “engine” inside the actor working productively against the text, in order to resist its pull.
Is it still possible to relate to Meyerhold’s pre-revolutionary concept of “the theater of attractions”? Is it possible to employ the cinematic strategy of the close-up in theater? For Wuttke, it’s a “wonderful dream” to combine different forms of artistic expression like ballet, dance, artistry, drama.
Wuttke continues to talk about his acting career and his early collaboration with Einar Schleef. For his role as “Don Carlos,” Wuttke researched the historical figure Don Carlos and tried to confront the man’s empirical viciousness with the ideal of Schiller’s text by means of dramatic expression. In reference to Schiller’s classical constellation of characters, Kluge and Wuttke explore the question of tragedy. Kluge proposes the idea that Philipp should adopt the Marquis of Posa as an alternative happy ending for the tragedy, and considers side exits from classical tragedies in general.
The conversation ends with Wuttke’s account of an unproductive phase in Müller’s career (“Mommsen block”) during the rehearsals for Robert Wilson’s production of “Gilgamesh.” It is interesting to hear how Müller dealt with this issue, for example by using a dream protocol of Wuttke’s as libretto for Wilson.