Acustica International stage production of Ophelia in New York, 1987. Photo by Klaus Schoning.
OPHELIA AND THE WORDS
by Gerhard Ruhm
Ophelia is played by: Sigrid Wurschmidt
Directed by: Klaus Schöning
Technical Production by: James McKee & Klaus Schöning
Additional sound by: Henry Kaiser
Engineering at Fantasy Studios by: Danny Kopelson
Produced by: Erik Bauersfeld
A co-production by BARD & WDR Köln
Gerhard Ruhm began with all the words spoken by Ophelia in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. Ruhm explains: “The text went through a demontage by which all subjects and verbs were taken out of the sentence structure and made into word chains, altered progressively with each repeat until they became unidentifiable. Ophelia’s role is hermetically sealed. Her world is constructed from the elements of her language. She entangles herself in that world and becomes insane.”
Klaus Schöning (who directed also the original German and Spanish productions) conceives Ruhm’s Ophelia as a marionette, inspired by the character in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann. Her words are spoken and sung mechanically. The syntax is decayed so that there are left only the words.
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