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Stage Design „The Great World Theatre“

Calderón’s El Gran Teatro del Mundo is a spellbinding play, written without acts and scenes – a poem in the tradition of antiquity. Were one to treat it verse by verse, it becomes clear that the piece could have the five distinct acts of a Shakespearean tragedy; or the three of a French comedy; or even seven scenes, one for each day of creation. Calderón de la Barca explores the metaphor that “ the boards which rule the world ” literally in the context of everyday life: life is a performance and the world is a stage. The players on this stage are allegorical: the king, the beggar, the beauty, the stillborn child… the ebb and flow of life plays out before our eyes. The audience is posed the ultimate questions: how does man confront life itself? What is the goal of his existence? Is there a goal? Is there a meaning? The characters of the World, the Master and the Law of Grace announce the game’s outcome: the morals and value systems which serve as the basis of human endeavour are called into question. How the poet answers is at once familiar, simple and challenging: love others like you love yourself; do the right thing.
As the best dramatist of his generation, Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño was named Court Playwright. In later life, he was ordained in the Franciscan order, eventually becoming Court Chaplain. Every year he wrote a play for the Feast of Corpus Christi in Madrid. El gran theatro del mundo, first published in 1635, is today recognised as a seminal work of classical Spanish literature.
The stage set further explores the central theme “the stage rules the world” through elements which have themselves travelled far and wide. The stage is in a perpetuated state of construction: modular components allow a series of architectural environments to be quickly assembled and disassembled again.

“The Great Theatre of the World”                         
Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño/ Mystery play
Director: Michael Wallner
Stage: Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm, Michael Mayer
Composer: Markus Nigsch
Premiere: 28.05.2014 19:30, Vorarlberg Federal Theatre / Open Air / Dorfplatz Bildstein