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May 200
3 - Nr. 5


The Editor
Meiner Mutter
Ich weiss es noch
Mother's Day
Dear Mothers
KW and Beyond
Mayday at Concordia
Herwig Wandschneider
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
City of Glass
New Bells Consecrated
Rostock Olympic Bid
Elizabeth Kuehn
Opera York at Maxim's
Michael Schade's Solo
The New COC
10 Years Forget-me-nots
150 Year Duneden

Düsseldorf Stages Paul Auster’s City of Glass

    TWIG - German theaters in search of visionary new material are turning more and more often to genres beyond the stage, according to a recent article in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Theatrical adaptations of novels and films, from science-fiction classics like Fahrenheit 451 and Soylent Green to the 1971 cult movie Harold and Maude, are showing up across the country. While some directors pick works that translate easily to the stage, others go for near-impossible challenges. One of the daring set, Michael Simon, brought New York author Paul Auster’s metaphysical novel City of Glass to the Düsseldorf Theater in April.

Auster’s novel, the first part of his "New York Trilogy," is about language and writing as much as it is about events in the life of a character. Reality and fiction intermingle, identities merge and dissolve. Auster’s main character is a writer of crime fiction who receives anonymous phone calls for a private detective named Paul Auster. Eventually he poses as Auster and gets involved in an intricate criminal case that first resembles ‘40s-style pulp fiction, then peters out into an abstract language game.

In making a drama of this cerebral work, Simon rearranged much of the plot structure and stripped away Auster’s many literary allusions. Yet his spare and stylized set, his experimentations with identity and character, and his puzzling, open-ended narrative helped capture the postmodern attitude of the novel. Simon borrowed conventions from musical theater, melodrama and comedy in the production. Three actors play Auster’s protagonist; another two play Auster himself. But as in the original work, their identities cross and disintegrate by the end of the play, and the mystery that makes up the narrative remains unresolved.

Simon is known for his experimental works, including a recent Düsseldorf production of Shockheaded Peter, an adaptation of Heinrich Hoffmann’s book of cautionary tales, Der Struwwelpeter, first produced for the British stage by Michael Morris.


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