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King Size. Switzerland

14th October 7:00 pm
Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Main Stage



Director: Christoph Marthaler

Tora Augestad
Bendix Dethleffsen
Michael von der Heide
Nikola Weisse

Production: Theater Basel / Théâtre de Vidy, Lausanne
With the support of Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council

Duration: 1 hr 20 mins
Premiere: March 2013, Basel

Swiss director and musician Christoph Marthaler has long been at the forefront of European theatre. In “King Size”, first performed in Basel in 2013, he presents a hugely original take on the Liederabend. In Mathaler's hands this traditional “evening of song” becomes a witty, charming and profound meditation on love and the seduction of dreams.
At the centremost point of Marthaler's vision is the musical phenomenon of enharmonics: it’s a musical composition approach based on the fact that two notes with different names can produce the same sound. Almost all composers of the past two centuries made use of this unique device, and for a good reason, too – it promotes the idea of transformation, and what can be more valuable in life? Marthaler uses this idea not only to unite songs from across lyrical history but to explore self and other, dream and reality.
According to Christoph Marthaler, any human connection would be impossible without perpetual use and abuse of "enharmonic change". No marriage bonds, no secret alliances, not even the most innocent kiss on Earth. And because this is so obvious and yet so mysterious and unexplored, Christoph Marthaler and his ensemble, with minimally invasive effort, unveil the outermost layer of the universal covering and look into the centre of the enharmonic force, into the landscape of a peaceful night.
“At the heart of this production is the difference between the way you imagined your life would turn out and your real circumstances”, says the dramaturg Malte Ubenauf. “We all want our life to be ‘king-sized’ in the true sense of the word, but the contradiction between our hopes and reality is sometimes only seen during sleep and dreams. It’s only very rarely visible in real life”.
“King Size” is told through the songs that range across centuries of music. Sitting or lying down on a king-size bed in a gracefully decorated room with softly coloured wallpaper, a singing couple reviews an eclectic repertoire from John Dowland to The Kinks via the Jackson 5 and German folksongs. It’s in part a contemporary reimagining of the 19th century German Liederabend, or “evening of song”, but is equally influenced by the pop and rock concept album of the 20th century – telling a story through a collection of independent songs. It amounts to an intense expression of the unique power of song. In this comedy that approaches boulevard theatre, the characters coexist without really perceiving each other and dreams take precedence over reality. At the same time, though songs are independent and lack obvious connection with each other, there are several pervasive elements that link those songs and characters together, and these are namely lack of communication, humour, absurd, and all-embracing love.
The Lithuanian theatre critic Rasa Vasinauskaitė notes: “It gives an impression that a song in Marthaler's performances connects individuals and makes them equal, as well as directs one towards the history (…). It seems that the director wants to bring people back to their past whereas they stubbornly won't let go off the present”.