VOLKSBÜHNE
Berlin
Albert Serra
Liberté

Drama
ca. 140 min
German, French and Italian with German and English Surtitle

Anno 1774, shortly before the French Revolution. Somewhere between Potsdam and Berlin. A group of French libertines have escaped the new, ultra-conservative government of Louis XVI. They then meet with legendary German freethinker and seducer Duc de Walchen (Helmut Berger). In a country ruled by a hypocritical regime of virtue, the mission of this group of expats under the leadership of the cunning Duchesse de Valselay (Ingrid Caven) is to export to Germany the libertinage, a philosophy based on the rejection of moral boundaries and authorities. Over the course of their search for partners, the expats discover that this derelict parkland is the meeting place of a group of decadent local libertines and freethinking courtiers of Frederick the Great. But the Germans, with their idiosyncrasies, aren’t quite convinced by such a radical trend just yet, so the ever-ambitious Duchess de Valselay develops some sophisticated strategies for improving libertinage’s marketing. Albert Serra stages a tableau vivant of old Europe, in which new fashions and modern business practices take on grotesque forms.

Albert Serra, a “connoisseur of obscurity” (Artforum), is considered to be both one of the young master directors in independent European cinema. Through his films, installations, theatrical performances and performances, Serra has created a unique landscape composed of historical and literary figures such as Don Quixote, Casanova, Louis XIV, Fassbinder and Goethe. Liberté is the award-winning Catalan film and theatre director’s first work for the stage in the German-speaking world.

Cast

With: Ingrid Caven, Helmut Berger, Stefano Cassetti, Johanna Dumet, Ann Göbel, Felix Hammoser, Leonie Jenning, Catalin Jugravu, Günther Möbius, Jeanette Spassova, Anne Tismer, Laurean Wagner

Director: Albert Serra
Stage designer: Sebastian Vogler
Costumes: Rosa Tharrats
Lighting: Johannes Zotz
Dramaturgy: Giulio Bursi, Alan Twitchell
Dramaturgical cooperation / Translation text : Maurici Farré
Artistic assistance: Montse Triola
Artistic production: Philip Decker
Assistant director: Marie Schleef
Production assistance: Clàudia Robert Malagelada
Stage design assistant: Maike Krych
Costumes assistant: Eleonore Carrière
Stage manager: Alexandra Bentele
Soufflage, directing intern: Felix Hammoser
Costumes hospitant: Maria Theresa Carroz Wollny

press voices

„Liberté zeigt auf … radikale Art, wie sich der großartige Eigenbrötler Albert Serra der Illusionsmaschine des Theaters bedient. Ein grandios seltsames Spektakel. Eine Attraktion, die sich anzugucken und über die es sich zu streiten lohnt“. - Spiegel Online

Wolfgang Höbel, 23.02.18

„Helmut Berger, der gefallene Visconti-Gott und die Fassbinder-Überlebende, Ingrid Caven, Zeitzeugen einer unmoralischeren Zeit, sind hier die Sterne, die noch im Fallen glaubwürdig strahlen.“ Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Daniele Muscionico, 23.02.18

„Albert Serra bringt den natürlichen Rhythmus des Lebens auf die Bühne und füllt diesen mit einer transzendenten Stille, getragen durch eine bewusst statische, mechanische Mise en scène und den Auf- und Abgang der Sänften.“ El País

Álex Vicente, 02.03.18

Liberté did not disappoint in the slightest. (In the premiere) a suitably rowdy audience almost immediately took issue with Serra’s idiosyncratic feeling for dramatic timing (faithfully transferred from his films to the stage). For something so resolutely classical on its face, Liberté’s inspired mise en scène and subtly wise-ass script felt intensely modern.” Film Comment

Dan Sullivan, 07.03.18

Liberté approaches history at a forensic level of detail and intimacy, where authenticity approaches abstraction through sheer aesthetic force… This skilful integration of narrative and spatial elements creates a claustrophobic atmosphere belying the play’s outdoors setting, while the systematic blocking of action and the actors’ whispered delivery of some rather mellifluous dialogue make for a spellbinding, if inscrutable, viewing experience. In much the same way that Serra’s wilfully modernist approach to history has earned its share of criticism in film circles, so too does Liberté seem in part designed to confront preconceptions related to the theatre – an approach that, judging by the Volksbühne audience’s vocal reprimands (‘louder!’, ‘start acting!’), seemed to please purists none so much.” Frieze

Jordan Cronk, 08.03.18

"Liberté is in any case a triumph on Serra’s own terms. It attests to the sheer force of his idiosyncratic aesthetic signature, and even the response (note: 'of the local theater critics' and 'the skeptical Germans') is fitting for a minimalist who strives for maximal effects: an uproar born of murmurs and whispers." - artforum

Dennis Lim, 16.03.18

media

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Photo: Román Yñan

Photo: Román Yñan

Photo: Román Yñan

Photo: Román Yñan

Photo: Román Yñan

Photo: Román Yñan

> Play II Pause
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