This energetic, compelling and somewhat disturbing show is a modernisation of the original opera Elektra by Richard Strauss. Initially written as a drama in 1903, Strauss adapted it to become a one-act opera in 1909. While the plot is loosely based on an ancient Greek mythological story of family, murder and revenge, both Strauss’ adaptation and this new adaption are contemporary and expressionist. Director Julia Lwowski has completely made the piece her own, with a modern and creative take on the music, costumes and stage design.
The audience are involved in the performance right from the start as they are led into the theatre by a group of mourners, sombre faced and shrouded in exquisite black veils. Such interaction between the actors and audience continues throughout the entire piece which is thoroughly engaging. Both Thorbjörn Björnsson and Gina-Lisa Maiwald envelop their demanding characters completely, maintaining an incredible energy throughout this emotional piece. This entire immersion of the characters enhances the believability and realness of the plotline and with such a creative set design, the actors are able to utilise every space in the studio in an uninhibited and melodramatic manner.
Finally, a stimulating mix of music styles reflects the fluctuation of mood during the play, with calmer moments of poignancy balancing out the wilder bursts of passion and extremity. Overall, Lwowski’s take on Elektra results in a highly energetic, entertaining and enthralling piece. The play is being shown at the Neuköllner Oper from 10th February – 28th March. For more information and details about tickets, visit the website here.
One final note, if you are slightly sensitive and do not want to be picked on, do not sit in the front row seats!