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May 2002 - Nr. 5


The Editor
Vorsicht Satire!
Antje berichtet
Hier O.K. Berlin!
K-W and Beyond
German Theatre
COC Opera Duo
Die Alte Dame
German Studies
Gone Fishing
40 Years Lein's
Wines of Austria
Sportclub 64 Toronto
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Ganghofer Treffpunkt
40 Years Beatles
Deutsche Regisseure...
Lost Film Era
Historical Centre
Der Nürburgring
Deutsche Autos in USA
To Do Business
Stained Glass Windows
Berlin History Museum
Online Village
World Cup 2006
Economic Upswing
"Hesse Year"
German Beer Day

Deutsches Theater Toronto
German Theatre Toronto
- A Renaissance -

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

Over many years, decades in fact, we have come to expect some pretty amazing performances from our local German theatre; and we have never been disappointed.

Yet over the years it became apparent that our beloved favourites could not carry on indefinitely without some new blood that could be spilled (allegorically) on those famous boards that mean the world for those that have stood on them. It does not matter, amateurs and professionals alike admit to the fact that theatre is addictive.

Why else would the smitten subject themselves to the rigours of never ending rehearsals, demanding directors, bad weather, bad transportation, bad food on the run, and perhaps, because of all of it, even bad tempers on occasion.

Especially for the members of our, and I stress the word our quite possessively, German Theatre Toronto, the hardship must be considerable and gruelling at times. Nearly all of the actively involved players are still in the workforce. We need to consider again the dedication, not the inflicted person’s addiction, in order to pay proper homage to this institution that has not been properly honoured nor rewarded by our compatriots.

Let me tell you a little secret: Applause is not the only desirable form of appreciation. That counts only for the few minutes after the curtain falls for the last time that night. Afterwards it is the hard cash and the official recognitions that are bestowed on any such undertaking. German Theatre Toronto has been overlooked consistently for decades. In favour of what or whom is a logical question one might ask. But that is another study.

The servant's new clothes  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)At hand is the latest contribution, this year’s production of a Robert Neuner’s, alias Erich Kästner, play Das lebenslängliche Kind. The title refers to the opinions of a family that the head of the household never grew up.

The inspection of the travel chest  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)It turns out that he is a wise philanthropist and industrialist, living among his family, making friends easily, and proving his philosophy by not obstructing the inevitable course of events, which shall not be recounted here other then in the description of the characters and their players.

Firm instructionsGunther Kunzelmann as Johann Seidelbast portrayed the faithful lifelong servant and caring friend to Horst Vogl’s Geheimrath Schlueter. From both we are used to insightful performances and no one was disappointed.

Planning a little trickSigrid Peter played Mensing, the typical Berliner housekeeper, with the mouth to match her big heart. Manfred Petz displayed much understanding of the part as an aristocratic old fool, Baron Raehnitz; Werner Maxseiner as the man at the hotel reception and Helga Maxseiner as the waitress rounded out the action with the needed support to the other players, as did Tanya Percy and Kirk Fischer, another newcomer.

Orders for a "nobody"  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)The director of a luxury hotel, where most of this comedy of errors takes place, is performed with proper decorum by Horst Peter, who of course signed responsible for, not only the president of the DTT, but also as director of the play, with his wife Sigrid also pulling double duty in his assistance. Her third hat was the acquisition of costumes and other props, which she cared for lovingly and with great detail. Le dernier crie in ski wear  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)

Offers from older quarters  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)But there was particular reason to rejoice this year, and this reason was supplied by the University of Toronto’s Germanistic Department, where two professors and one student became enamoured with the idea of performing what they usually only explore academically.

Wintersport enthusiasts  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)This threesome interjected the new blood, the unexpected, and the promise of future into our Deutsches Theater Toronto. Ursula Sherman as Frau von Haller plays an aging, bored and wealthy lady (my husband is only rich!); Anette Guse plays the protective and pretty daughter to Horst Vogel’s complex and layered Geheimrath, and Christian Schoeppke is that rare illusive kind o"Good bye, Herr Direktor"  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)f talent that invigorates everyone around him, keeps them on their toes, challenges any conservative stance with liberal add libbing. This reviewer went twice to the show, just to make sure that the observations were correct: it was the same play but not the same dialogue.

The check-up visit  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)Yes, the continuity was the same, but little idiosyncrasies were developed continuously every day during the run of the play as Dr. Georg Scheinpflug, the award winning promotional writer, desperately looking to land a job, enlivened the stage and the other players. Unbelievable  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)They too had to develop with Christian Schoeppke every day something new, something they might not have known they had before. This unexpected turn of events of course brought about an astounding immediacy to the performance.


The insult thickens  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)

I got the job!  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)Thus everyone was continuously challenged to perform at peak, and they did. It is a great credit to the directors of the play that they allowed this process to flourish. And it is with this occurrence that the DTT stepped up another step in the ranks of great amateur theatre. The stage suddenly was like life: it had something unexpected and unforeseen to offer.

Still in the dark  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)

It did not matter that this story takes place in yesteryear, that the dusty Bürgertum made up whatever desire it had to be upper class and call itself Luxury Hotel with all the preconceived ideas a place like that could possible demonstrate. Human nature is the same at any time and any place. And this was accurately and lively brought home to an adoring audience and a full house every night.

Engagement imminent  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)

This play demanded and got an excellent ensemble. This was not about individual characters outshining each other; this was about cohesiveness, about many parts making a unique whole. And this ensemble succeeded admiringly.


Final curtain call for a fine ensemble cast  (Deutsches Theater Toronto)

The Deutsches Theater Toronto performed before the opening of the German Weeks in Toronto, but deserved to be part of it. Not only that, the DTT deserves more support and official recognition. This year’s influx of new talent does not guarantee an encore for next year. In amateur theatre loyalty is not just a matter of enthusiasm. People have to make time and bring commitment to the project. So if there is someone else out there who wants to be bitten by the thespian bug I highly recommend getting in touch with Horst Peter at 416-439-7920 or email him at horstpeter@dttoronto.com.

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