Klaus Störtebeker is “God’s Friend”

In the year 1393 Denmark was at war with the north German state of “Mecklenburg”. Mecklenburg’s King had been captured and both countries were fighting for control of Sweden. Stockholm was under siege by the Danes, and Mecklenburg was more than happy to accept help from anyone willing to join them.

This part of Scandinavian history provides the backdrop to this years play at the Störtebeker Festspiele on the Island of Rügen.

The story picks up from where it left off last year, except that several figures have been removed or replaced due to their corrupt involvement in the building of the church in Wismar which remains on the right-hand side of the stage.

Goedeke Michels (Andreas Euler) and Klaus Störtebeker (Bastian Semm) arrive as the Danes are attacking Stockholm

Goedeke Michels (Andreas Euler) and Klaus Störtebeker (Bastian Semm) arrive as the Danes are attacking Stockholm

The left-hand side represents Stockholm, with the opening scene seeing one of many attacks by Queen Margrethe of Denmark against the garrison. She may not be successful, but it gives the audience a taste of the pyrotechnics and stunts to come!

Soon Klaus Störtebeker and Goedeke Michels are on the scene, at first less in a fighting capacity, more as part of Mecklenburg’s supply chain for the town. Both Bastian Semm and Andreas Euler continue in the the roles that they took over last year, with two of the regular cast Mike Hermann Rader and Norbert Braun having roles in Stockholm.

Meanwhile the corruption theme in Wismar continues with new protaganists who are more than happy to do business with both sides, although the young Edwin Westhoff (Marco Matthes) makes the mistake of both upsetting Störtebeker’s friends and not paying his bills, leaving him the butt of a number of jokes.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark (Daniela Kiefer) plotting with Swarte Skaaning (Mario Ramos)

Queen Margrethe of Denmark (Daniela Kiefer) plotting with Swarte Skaaning (Mario Ramos)

The years performance has a number of interesting new elements. Rather than “just” pyrotechnics, a rather large cannonball flies over the stage towards Stockholm, and the stage itself contains a number of dynamic elements, contrasting the Wismar set which is only slightly altered from last year. Also, in one scene involving a falcon, the bird handler Volker Walter makes a cameo appearance.

And no story would be complete without Mario Ramos playing the man doing the Queen’s dirty work, a role he seems to have in a different form each year, but one that he does so well. Daniela Kiefer as Queen Margrethe may be giving the orders, but after the performance she was rather surprised when the children she met were not scared of her!

One person missing from last years cast is Claudia Gäbel, although the role she played, Elisabeth, remains. Anna Lena Class takes over the role this year, but with the story requiring her to be reserved and shy for half of the play, she has very few lines compared to the rest of the ensemble.

Wolfgang Lippert singing inside the Stockholm set

Wolfgang Lippert singing inside the Stockholm set

Of course, just the size of the stage and the backdrop of the Jasmunder Bodden are reason enough to go to see the Festspiele. Another reason for many is to see Wolfgang Lippert perform and it is not usual for his fans to go in groups and book out whole rows or blocks in the audience. They will not be disappointed, with him singing in all three areas of the stage and in a very colourful costume. Except that his time he stays on the ground and just needs to make sure that he doesn’t get “captured” in Stockholm as well. But that’s a different story.

The Störtebeker Festspiele runs from Saturday, 21st June until Saturday, 6th September, 2014.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.stoertebeker-festspiele.de.

Once again my thanks go to the Störtebeker Festspiele GmbH & Co. KG for inviting me to the press preview performance

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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