Leipzig Ost // Träume
La Bohème. Four young people sharing a flat in a big city. One night, there is a knock on the door. A young woman, their neighbour Mimi, stands on the threshold with “ice-cold hands” and asks for help: A different reality breaks in from next door, holding the door wide open for new departures into an unknown and uncertain future.
“In hopes and dreams and castles-in-the-air, I'm a millionaire in spirit” is a line in Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Bohème”. In this production, Puccini’s timeless opera plot combines with various time levels in the lives of the city of Leipzig and its residents. Caught between the forces of utopian ideals and harsh realities, self-fulfilment and assimilation, life’s plans and dreams respond and alter. They return, repeated in varying guises, take different turns or get stuck in cul-de-sacs. Which dream will knock on which door in these different layers of time?
Biographies are juxtaposed with motifs from “La Bohème”. Director Anna-Sophie Mahler and writer Anne Jelena Schulte explore what the members of a group of artists sharing a flat, a flat-share shortly before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the inhabitants of a hip and trendy part of today’s Leipzig may have in common. Based on interviews, they set out to trace the memories, visions and hopes of a specific location during different eras. And from this material, they create a production at the interface of music and theatre. “Farewell, love’s dream”, Rodolfo sings in the opera’s final act. What has become of the youthful hopes for a fairer world? Which dreams have come true, which were abandoned and which are still enchanting our souls?
Anna-Sophie Mahler is a theatre and opera director. Following “Eriopis”, which can still be seen at Diskothek, this is her second production at Schauspiel Leipzig. She often interweaves documentary texts and music in her theatre works. She works both at prominent theatres and opera houses (including Theater Bremen, Münchner Kammerspiele, Bayerische Staatsoper, Staatsoper Stuttgart and Schauspielhaus Graz) and in the independent sector, notably at Gessnerallee Zurich, Kaserne Basel and HAU Berlin as well as with her own company CapriConnection. Her production “Mittelreich” was invited to the 2016 Berlin Theatertreffen.
Author Anne Jelena Schulte writes theatre texts based on research and conversations about specific topics. Her texts have been presented at Deutsches Theater Berlin, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, Deutsches Theater Göttingen, Theater Bielefeld and others. “La Bohème” is her first work at Schauspiel Leipzig.