THEATRE REVIEW: Mother Courage and Her Children ★★★
Mutter Courage Und Ihre Kinder
Berliner Ensemble, Berlin
Thursday 5th November 2015
As a university student or drama student alone, you will of course be taught about Bertolt Brecht, one of the most influential people in theatre during the 20th century, and his plays have stood as some of the most inspiring pieces to those who want to make it into the industry, so coming to Berlin and getting to witness one of his creations for the first time, Mother Courage and her children, described as one of the most anti-war plays of all time, felt like a real privilege, and having now witnessed the production, I was left with many thoughts afterwards.
Firstly it should be noted that this production was spoken and sung all in German, so as someone who knew very little of the plot beforehand, I did some research of the plot online so I had a rough grasp of what the events were in the play, but having now watched it, I believe that this initiative was actually not needed, as even though it was spoken in a different language, I really felt like I could get up with the storyline and understand a few of the characters instantly from just the way the actors gave these characters such energy and all rounded personalities to their roles.
I would also like to commemorate the production for the use of a live orchestra which you could clearly see in the circle boxes either side, and I thought this was a really nice touch to actually get to hear the live music, and especially when one of the orchestra stood to sing one of the numbers in the second act, as it really changed it up to see not a member of the actually cast, and of course their character, but a member of the orchestra, sing on stage.
It was two moments though during the production that sealed the opinion on seeing this piece of theatre as one of the most visually stunning productions I have seen in a good while, and coming under the category of weather, two words, Rain and Snow. I can’t describe how much visually seeing the rain fall on stage helped you really believe in the destination that the scene was set in on stage, but visually it was stunning and I couldn't take my eyes off it, but as soon as the snow came onto the stage, that honestly felt so believable that you almost felt like you were a part f the action on stage, and that was something that I really loved and wish I saw more of with productions we get the privilege to see these days!
Overall, I was apprehensive before watching this production about how I would react to it because of many factors, the main being the language barrier, but with fantastic performances from all round, which some actually had me laughing, it really proved that drama isn't all about the words and understanding the final product completely, but more in the way of the actions from the characters, as well as costume and lights, to really tell a story that would entertain all!