Faust 2020

Faust 2020

29 March 2019 | Sebastian Jüngel

On 20 February, the Leadership team provided information on the planned new production of Faust 2020 at the Goetheanum – initially to be shown in a shortened version.

Performing Goethe’s Faust has been one of the Goetheanum’s main tasks ever since Marie Steiner staged the first production in 1938. Around 80 people came to the recent first information evening to hear about the development of Faust at the Goetheanum: following intensive consultations the Leadership team has come to the conclusion that Christian Peter’s production cannot be further developed by anyone else. This would be an impossible task for the newly appointed directors, Andrea Pfaehler (general direction) and Eduardo Torres (eurythmy).

Since a new production is not possible with the means available and yet, the work on Faust should not rest any longer, there will first be an abbreviated version – as an intermediate step on the way to a full performance in the future. It is thanks to two legacies that the work can finally start now.

The spiritual aspect

The plan is for a performance of about eight hours. Cuts will be made by the directors with the help of Georg Darvas, a former actor at the Goetheanum and long-term head of Neues Theater in Dornach (CH). On behalf of the Goetheanum Leadership the project will be accompanied by Stefan Hasler as artistic director and by Christiane Haid. Other members of the artistic team include Isabelle Fortagne (assistant director), Nils Frischknecht (set design), Agnes Zehnter (speech), Klaus Suppan (lights) and Julia Strahl (costumes).

Despite the text cuts the production should convey an overall impression. Andrea Pfaehler prefers to speak of emphasis, «We want to tell the whole story.» Asked how faithful the production will be to the original, she added, «We are not intending to show something through Faust, but to show Faust.» The central aspect for Christiane Haid is to present the spiritual aspect of Faust’s development since this would also reflect the mission of the Goetheanum. The production will be based on Rudolf Steiner’s Faust Lectures and on Martina Maria Sam’s dissertation on the reception of Rudolf Steiner’s Faust.

Agnes Zehnter would like to see the sources of artistic speech brought to life and to achieve a good harmony of speech and eurythmy. She is inspired by the stage directions given by Marie Steiner for her own production of Faust.

Inquiries and comments illustrate how strongly the impressions from earlier productions still resonate and how they are seen as a benchmark. The wish for a «proper» stage set was also addressed, and that this was a task for the Visual Art Section. Reservations were voiced with regard to the text cuts: was the full performance not a special feature that had attracted audiences in the past? Did it not need a festival of several days to make the trip to Dornach worthwhile? After the recent Faust performances critical voices had, however, been heard that asked for a shorter version because not everyone could afford to spend so much time and money on theatre.

Goodwill and positivity

Whether or not the wish for building up an ensemble of actors at the Goetheanum can become a reality will depend on the interest shown in the performances. With this in mind and because of their experience with the recent production, those who are in charge now hope that the Faust project will be accompanied with goodwill and positivity.

The premiere is scheduled for 18 June 2020 as a school performance, followed in July 2020 by four further performances that will be embedded in various conferences.

The next information evening will be on 22 May 2019, 6 p.m.

Web: www.goetheanum-buehne.ch