Störtebeker 2017: In the Shadow of Death

The end of the cycle at the Störtbeker Festspiele on Rügen can only mean one thing: Klaus Störtebeker is going to lose his head at the end of the evening.  But before we things get that far, there is a story to finish telling.

At the end of the 2016 play, Klaus Störtebeker and his men had moved to the North Sea and it is several years later, now in 1401, that we pick up the story.  Klaus (Bastian Semm) and Goedecke (Andreas Euler) are about to attack one of the stores in Hamburg, where Fronica (Karin Hartmann) is selling fish at the market.  They are successful, ultimately burning down the store after taking the contents back to their ships, but it only makes the elders in Hamburg more determined than ever to capture the pirates.

Klaus Störtebeker (Bastian Semm) coming out of the fogKlaus Störtebeker (Bastian Semm) coming out of the fog

Enter Simon von Ütrecht (Nicolas König) [Read more…]

Störtebeker’s Falconer

There is a moment during the Störtebeker Festspiele that always amazes the audience, when “Laran” the eagle flows low over their heads and lands on Störtebeker’s arm.  They gasp and those directly under the flight path can feel the rush of air has he silently glides over them.

Stiwi, the bird playing Laran, and his trainer Volker Walter, have been taking part in the play for the past 20 years and travel each year in May from their home in Bavaria to Rügen for the summer season, along with a host of other birds that he trains with his wife.

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to visit them and see their birds of prey first hand.

The Adlershow at the Störtebeker Theatre in Ralswiek [Read more…]

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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