Wagner as a divine comedy: ALL IS DIVINE by Charlotte Engelkes on Kampnagel

As part of the NORDWIND-festival Charlotte Engelkes and her companions present their very own take on Richard Wagner’s “Ring der Nibelungen” on Kampnagel: ALL IS DIVINE.

Usually I don’t really go for opera, although I suffered myself through the RING at the Staatsoper Hamburg from the 4-Euro-cheap-seats right under the ceiling. It turned out to be quite interesting since I had never before experienced such a sharp contrast between impressive music and depressingly stiff acting and directing. I also own the whole RING-cd-collection – which was a gift and I somehow never managed to listen through. So I would certainly never do a pilgrimage down to Bayreuth to attend some old fossils celebrating some heroic and altogether quite German so-called cultural heritage.

Having said all this I also have to state that I am not a big fan of ironical and so-called up-to-date approaches on classics either because that’s usually cheap, easy and not really mind-blowing. And especially Wagner makes such an easy case. My expectations on ALL IS DIVINE by Charlotte Engelkes tended towards nothing as one might guess.

“I’ll set everything on fire”

But Charlotte Engelkes’ ALL IS DIVINE is different – and special: It is a kaleidoscope of opera, cabaret, pop-art and camp, but it is neither cheap nor easy with its beauty- and skillfully choreographed and orchestrated take on Wagner. One can sense that Charlotte Engelkes is already familiar with the subject: from 2006 to 2013 she also directed “MISS VERY WAGNER”, “SIGFIED – THE VERY WAGNER HERO HOUR” and the “FLYGANDE HOLLÄNDARE”.

The cast of ALL IS DIVINE includes Charlotte Engelkes herself together with Lindy Larsson, Ingrid Tobiasson, Celine Rosa Tan and Chan Sze Wie and forms a congenial kaleidoscope itself. Wagner’s RING is only vaguely narrated and broadly outlined by pinpointing it down to essential elements. And even though I am not a big fan of serving a moral on a silver platter I enjoyed their way of free interpretation, association and representation. ALL IS DIVINE is all about witty ideas of presentation, deconstruction and the transformation of something monumental and therefore rather static into something more moving and touching. I have never been moved by classical takes on Wagner – but I have been quite amused and touched by ALL IS DIVINE.

ALL IS DIVINE: Charlotte Engelkes, Lindy Larsson, Ingrid Tobiasson, Celine Rosa Tan, Chan Sze Wie. Foto: Carl Thorborg

ALL IS DIVINE: Charlotte Engelkes, Lindy Larsson, Ingrid Tobiasson, Celine Rosa Tan, Chan Sze Wie. Foto: Carl Thorborg

Konzept & Regie: Charlotte Engelkes
Mit: Charlotte Engelkes, Lindy Larsson, Ingrid Tobiasson, Celine Rosa Tan, Chan Sze Wie
Musik: Willi Bopp, Richard Wagner
Text: Charlotte Engelkes, Sophie Holgersson
Kostüme: Anna Ardelius
Video: Brian Gothong Tan
Dramaturgie: Katarina Aronsson
Licht und Bühne: Karl Svensson

After ALL IS DIVINE I am already looking forward to Nicolas Stemann’s collaboration with Elfriede Jelinek named REIN GOLD next March 2014 at the Berliner Staatsoper im Schiller-Theater.

PS: Usually I don’t write in English, but whenever I watch international productions I also tend to think about them in English – so decided to give it a try. It isn’t my first attempt though: When I interviewed GOB SQUAD’s Simon Will on BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES at the Theatertreffen 2012 I also decided to stick to Simon’s mothertongue. Since it is obviously not my mothertongue: errors occur – so what?

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