As every true stage fan knows, Berlin’s Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz has pretty much been the coolest theatre in the world since before most us were born. Its bold, iconoclastic, director-led productions have had a huge influence on global theatre, and under the current leadership of Thomas Ostermeier, its reputation has only swelled.
Obviously, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Schaubühne is now shut, which is a bummer. Its legendary ensemble of actors has been forced to socially distance.
However, never ones to be deterred, the theatre is opening its storied video vaults on a nightly basis for a strand of work called ‘Coercive Measures’. It’s a simple deal: every night, starting at 6.30pm German time and running until midnight, a different play from their vaults will stream. This some of the most remarkable theatre that has ever taken place, and for this grim period you can stream it into your living room every night.
Most modern productions come complete with English subtitles – but frankly, everything is worth a look for the visuals alone, even if you don’t get the lingo.
At 6pm each night, before the play streams, there will be an update (in German) from members of the ensemble.
Look out this week for Peter Stein’s epic, two-part ‘Peer Gynt’ from 1971 (March 26 and 27). Upcoming shows – presently scheduled until April 17 – include plenty by Ostermeier himself, including his legendary ‘Hamlet’, which will run on April 1. You’d be a fool to miss it.
Photograph: Arno Declair