Kabale und Liebe. Im Reich der Mitte

The Chinese people love Schiller. For decades the German “classic” has been very popular. For the Chinese, Schiller is THE poet of freedom. His dramas are set books at Chinese schools. In Peking there is a Schiller bar and several Schiller restaurants. No other European poet has made it as far as him. No other works of a poet are as tied to the history of China as the works of Schiller: During the fight against the Japanese invaders in the 1930s, the apple-shooting-scene of the drama “Wilhelm Tell” was interpreted as a scene with the message of reassurance and courageousness. During the Cultural Revolution, Schiller was condemned as revisionist. A person, who in his dramas calls for the freedom of thinking, had to be forbidden. After the death of Mao, Schiller’s works underwent a renaissance. For example, young Chinese women saw a role model in the character of Luise Millerin. For the birthday of Schiller in November 2009, many symposia will take place, his workings are retranslated, and his dramas are shown on several stages of the country.

A highlight is the guest performance of the Theatre Meiningen. It is the only German theatre performing in China on the 250th birthday of the dramatist. On November 8th the Theatre Meiningen flies to Peking - actors, costumes, technicians and all parts of the stage design are flying together in one airplane. In Peking they will perform “Kabale und Liebe” on November 10th, the birthday of Schiller. It is the play that Schiller wrote in Bauerbach near Meiningen. Afterwards the ensemble travels to Shanghai and Xián.
It is a gigantic project, through which the theatre reconnects with old traditions. After all, in the 19th century the Court Theatre of Meiningen was one of the first ensembles touring all over Europe.

We will accompany the theatre preparing for the spectacular tour. We will watch the process of entire stage designs being packed and transported to China. We will be there, when the ensemble of Meiningen will celebrate the birthday of Schiller together with the people from Peking. During the time of the guest performance we will capture the Schiller-mania of China.

A film by Anna Schmidt
Author: Anna Schmidt
Camera: Thomas Koppehele
Cutting: Mario Biehl
Sound: Robert Kurz