Störtebeker 2018: The Call of Freedom

June sees the start of a new cycle of the Störtebeker Festspiele auf Rügen, with two new actors in the lead roles.  During the winter months, both Klaus Störtebeker and Goedeke Michels were re-cast, to the surprise of many fans.

Alexander Koll from Eschweiler near Aachen and Alexander Hanfland from Cologne have joined the cast in Ralswiek and will be giving their first performances in their new roles on Saturday evening at the premiere.

The story returns to the beginning with Klaus, not yet a pirate, being simply “Klaus von Alkun”.  But the play is not just a repeat of the one five years ago, for a start it takes place four years later in 1395.  There are some similarities, such as Klaus’ father (Norbert Braun) being in debt and losing his land to a unscrupulous family, but other elements are new.

Alexander Koll as Klaus StörtebekerAlexander Koll as Klaus Störtebeker

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Störtebeker Festspiele 2012 – Off with his head!

Last year I visited the Störtebeker Festspiele – the open-air theatre in Ralswiek on the island of Rügen – for the first time, encountering the end of a three-part story.

Since then it has been an open secret among Störtebeker fans that this year the play will complete a “cycle” of stories and see the main figure beheaded for pirate activities, although anyone not in on the “secret” may have guessed given that the title of the play this year is “Störtebekers Tod” (Störtebeker’s Death).

The stage at sunset

The stage in Ralswiek at sunset

In fact, it is his death in Hamburg that the real Klaus Störtebeker is probably most well-known for.  It is said that he asked for the lives of his men to be spared.  The Mayor of Hamburg promised him not to execute the men who he was able to walk past after his beheading, and according to legend he made it past either 7 or 11 of them.

Klaus Störtebeker (Sascha Gluth)

Klaus Störtebeker (Sascha Gluth)

But before the Festspiele get to that part of the story, they start off just after the end of the last story where Störtebeker had discovered the gold of the Knights Templar.  The gold has now been hidden and in part used to buy land.  The land is known as “Freies Friesland” (Free Frisia).  But the freedom does not last long [Read more…]

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