(Molly Grogan’s article appeared in the Paris Voice.)   


Berliner Ensemble Stages "Richard II" in Paris


There is no better gage of quality in contemporary theater than the Berliner Ensemble. As its presence in Paris this season has so ably demonstrated, with a landmark "Three Penny Opera" revisited by Robert Wilson and a sharply contemporary "Richard II", sixty-one years of history have only made this living monument more vital yet.

If the enormous legacy of Bertolt Brecht has sometimes weighed heavily on the shoulders of the company he founded, his dream of an epic theater capable of social revolution takes a new course under the troupe's current director Claus Peymann. Combining the subversive vision of his forefather with the piercing social commentary of Thomas Bernhard, whose work he championed throughout the writer's life, he set the tone for his directorship with Shakespeare's rendering of the decline of Richard II and the ascension of Henry IV: a masterful production which was recognized as the best Berlin production in 2000. So writes another page in the history of the incomparable "BE".

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