Photo: Ute Schendel
Basel 2008 (FP), Marcus Bothe, dir.
Gunten (2008)Duration: 70 minutes
Instrumental DiaryTheatre based on Robert Walser's novel 'Jakob von Gunten', for octet, live electronics and three actors
Conception & text adaptation: Stefanie Wördemann (G)
3actors; bfl.bcl(=dbcl)-tpt(=Flugel hn)-perc(1):marimba/vib/glass harp/rattle/rainmaker/BD/SD/3cym/clash.cym/Chin.cym/ant.cym/gong/Chin.opera gong/Jap.howl gong/cowbell/tam-t/anvil/2tom-t/4bongos/steel bl/metal plate/paper bag/friction dr-prep pft(=sampler)-vla(=vln).vlc.db; live electronics.
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
GARE DU NORD Bahnhof für Neue Musik, Basel
Marcus Bothe, director
Conductor: Jürg Henneberger
Company: Silvester von Hösslin / ChrisTine Urspruch / Georg Martin Bode / Ensemble Phoenix
|JAKOB VON GUNTEN||actor / speaker with yodelling talent|
|Miss LISA||actress / speaker with dance talent|
|Mr. BENJAMENTA||actor / speaker|
|Jakob's brother JOHANN||piano (also sampler keyboard) / speaker|
|Jakob's college brothers:|
|KRAUS||double bass / speaker|
|HEINRICH||bass flute / speaker|
|SCHACHT||viola/violin / speaker|
|SCHILINSKI||trumpet (also Flugel horn) / speaker|
|HANS||percussion / speaker|
|PETER||bass clarinet (also double bass clarinet) / speaker (female)|
|FUCHS||cello / speaker|
The work is exclusively based on text excerpts from the novel. The eleven short scenes, interrupted by three ‘Dream Audio Plays’, follow this basic framework: Jakob von Gunten, the son of ‘good family’, is admitted to the Benjamenta Institute, an educational home for servants where the pupils learn ‘little, but thoroughly’. Jakob describes his comrades, their views and plans for the future. Within the strange atmosphere of the house, murky and barely articulated desires and moods unfold. While Jakob is drawn towards his fellow pupil, Kraus, he dreams of Miss Lisa, the director’s sister, with whom he has secret conversations. Benjamenta himself is impressed with Jakob. Finally, things take a turn for the worse in the home: Lisa dies and Benjamenta dismisses all of the pupils except for Jakob, who he asks to join him on his journey into the world. After pondering the idea for a while, he agrees.