Premiere US Premiere
Production Language German
Country of Origin Germany
Description Only in Michael Thalheimer’s hands could frustration be the stuff of such compelling drama. In recent years the young director has collected numerous awards for breathing new life into classical theater through minimalist productions pared down to bare dramatic essence. And appropriately, in Emilia Galotti, so much begins with so little. A meeting between a beautiful bride-to-be and a handsome prince on her wedding day; a careless word between the prince and an unscrupulous minister; and the inexorable course of catastrophe has begun.
In the world of Emilia Galotti, the black and white of wrong and right fade when Eros enters the stage. Set to the haunting waltz that animates Wong Kar-Wai’s cinematic study in repressed passion In the Mood for Love, the play all but abandons dialogue for a language of eloquent physicality. Characters speak, but their every sentence is undermined by a glance, a gesture that expresses infinitely more of the tension, desire, and fear simmering under the surface of civility than words ever could. Restraint defines every interaction: lovers languish in aching impotence, forbidden from ever touching the object of their affection, and even the shot that ends the play need never be fired onstage to be felt. The Deutsches Theater production of Emilia Galotti will be only the second time the company has appeared in New York City-the first since the 1926 production of Danton’s Tod, directed by Max Reinhardt.