on “The production of Orfeo”, Martin Gropius Bau, 11-12th; 14-18th September 2015

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Reporting directly from the production set, I will draw the behind the scenes of “Orfeo”, by Susanne Kennedy, Suzan Boogaerdt, Bianca van der Schoot, with the Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, that will be performed between 18-20, 26-27, 30 September and 1-4 October at Martin-Gropius-Bau. The notable element of this production is that it is conceived as a parcours, resulting in an immersive experience- the set is build as a succession of different rooms that the viewer/immerser will explore, one by one, meeting (several) Eurydike and Orpheo. The music, played for 9 hours straight, derives from Monteverdi’s L’Orpheo.

As an observer, I will have the chance to see how all this is put together, from technical to formal.

Partner in this reportage: Berliner Festspiele

1. 11th September 2015

1.1 The idea (immersive experience; omnipresent Eurydike)


Step into the picture


Eurydike as a continuum


About how punctual the viewers ought to be:

img588 Individual meeting with Orfeo


1.2 On the set

To be built



CrewBreak Input



A bike and a transporter, both bearing Orfeo sign:



Orfeo bike

Transporter Orfeo


Work glove

Cutting straight

Verticala copy



A technical hole into one of the props (cloud):

Pierced cloud Exit sign



Someone from the crew is wearing this:

Africa as necklace copy



Lights in line copy




And…the last truck of props:

Theater truck


2. 12th September 2015

As I arrived that morning, there were two museum white collar employers, engaged in some sort of a strange dance-demo:

1.White collar dance

The doorman, stock-still:


The set is made out of a labyrinth of rooms and one backyard (living room, kitchen, bathroom, backyard, hobby room, resurrection room, sleeping room). Their construction- in progress:



2.Living room 3.Kitchen 4.Bathroom 5.Backyard 6.Hobby room 7.Resurrection room 8.Sleeping room

The technical backbone of each room:

9.Behind complexity


Boris, the light technician:



Each technician is focused on one job/room at a time:

11.Working line


3. 14th September 2015

The complexity of the set keeps on growing- lots and lots of cables. The door becomes an entrance to the underworld:

Gates to the underworld




One technician walks around in socks- spotlessness required:

Walking in socks

A solution for the shoes:

Hanging shoes

One important tool to have around:

Pencil in pocket

“Erste Hilfe” kit, like a protecting matron:Esrte hilfe

So many tools, so many devices:

Minuscule man

Color starts to stuck on things:

Tinted hammer

Today’s doorman, full of initiative:

Doorman checking

4. 15th September 2015

A few more technical details before the musicians and actors will come in for rehearsals:

1.Laptop on top of harpsichord

At the end of the rooms labyrinth, the viewers will see an animation of Eurydike falling. It’s hard work to adjust it.

Falling Eurydike

Note that Eurdyke is wearing a wristwatch. Her time is running out…

Wristwatch 2

5. 16th September 2015

After days of pure technical work, the musicians and actors are coming in for a first tryout. Instruments out of their cases, chairs-tripods-musicians-  all set- and the music is about to begin:

Cello case

The music director- focused and flanked by two assistants:Director plus assistant a b

Paying attention to tiny details:

Musician with torn sweater

And then:

Suddenly music

Music felt in the stomach

Monteverdi deconstructed- some notes are held there for a while:

A very long note

Decostructing music

Tiny gestures:

Fingers checkup

The passing of music:

Music turn page

It is very important that the musicians retain their gestures and act delicately:

Laying down a cello

A built-in camera was watching all this:

In wall camera

Someone put one of Eurydike’s wigs on a cello ending:

Wig on cello

One of the directors watches the musicians’ ensemble:

Checking on the musicians

Then the actors came in and made their first tour of the set. One of them brushed against the walls:

Sweeping off a dusty elbow

In the dressing room, waiting to be put on- rows of wigs:



Putting on the mask

5. 17th September 2015

Last details before the premiere:

Warm up

General meeting

6. 18th September 2015-the premiere

On Friday, the day of the premiere, I went in-officially. There were groups of other viewers waiting for their turn. From 10 to 10 minutes one group would go in:


Just before entering the first door- some people in my group arranged their appearance a little bit, as the red light announced us not to enter (yet):

2.Tidying up before going in

Going from room to room, each of us had to behave towards space (where should we stand, will it look akward?):

3.Dealing with space

In each room (several) Eurydike, showing signs of imminent death:

4.Eurydike shivering

There were waiting corridors- between two red lights:

5.Standby moment

And at one point:6.Face to face with Orfeo

In and, then, out:7.Exit

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