Theatre
The 10 Selected Productions

Süßer Vogel Jugend (Sweet Bird of Youth)

By Tennessee Williams
German translation by Nina Adler

Schauspiel Leipzig

Premiere 6 April 2019

Through Tennessee Williams’ Southern drama Claudia Bauer takes a look at the late 1950s and finds both the white, male egocentrism and the self-doubt and instability that we are still dealing with today.

Süßer Vogel Jugend

Süßer Vogel Jugend. Ensemble

© Rolf Arnold

  • 1 h 50 min, without interval

Failed actor Chance Wayne returns to his home town with the ageing theatre diva Alexandra del Lago by his side. His teenage sweetheart Heavenly lives here and he wants to win her back. Except there’s one thing he does not know: Her father has a score to settle with him. Claudia Bauer and her cast capture the characters’ self-dramatisations and proceed to exhibit them in all their ludicrousness and cruelty with relish and great entertainment value.

Statement of the Jury

Those who think that they are currently witnessing the demise of political culture in the US may well find themselves disabused by Tennessee Williams’ “Süßer Vogel Jugend (Sweet Bird of Youth)”. In the past, during the late 1950s to be precise, the situation was no better than it is today – on the contrary. “Sweet Bird of Youth” is a splendid example of Western disillusionment, dismantling the usual myths of not only American dreams with acerbic wit. Success, fame, money, love and above all the hope of any real understanding between people are lovingly pulverised. The play’s particular charm lies in the fact that none of the protagonists have any doubt at all about their own – or the others’ – perfidiousness and that they all describe it in no uncertain terms. This kind of unconditional honesty is possible because all have long given up any hope of influencing anyone else except through brute force or ruthless blackmail. What counts in Claudia Bauer’s production is fearless achievement under an at times pitiless scrutiny of one’s own fakes and felonies. Because the director and her actors know only too well that authenticity holds no currency in this panorama of self-interests, demolished illusions and life-long dreams. Her merciless, acute sketches are full of acerbity and malice and they become the more ominous the more foolishly the characters expose themselves. Claudia Bauer’s horrific clowns and lucky corpses are highly animated indeed.

Cast

Director Claudia Bauer
Stage Design Andreas Auerbach
Costume Design Vanessa Rust
Music Roman Kanonik
Lighting Design Veit-Rüdiger Griess
Video Kai Schadeberg, Doreen Schuster
Sound Ralf Ludwig, Udo Schulze
Dramaturgy Katja Herlemann

Chance Wayne Florian Steffens
Princess Kosmonopolis (Alexandra del Lago) Anita Vulesica
Boss Tom Finley Michael Pempelforth
Tom Junior Roman Kanonik
Heavenly Finley Julia Preuß
Aunt Nonnie Annett Sawallisch
Miss Lucy Sophie Hottinger
The Disturber, Fly, Charles Andreas Dyszewski
George Scudder Thomas Braungardt
Stuff Brian Völkner

Süßer Vogel Jugend. Video trailer

© Schauspiel Leipzig

Courtesy of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.
Performing rights: Jussenhoven & Fischer, Theater & Medien