Oh Corona, difficult times, also for artists. And then there is the Hamburg Kiez, where people basically like to get close, in all locations. The director and composer Franz Wittenbrink had an idea when the St. Pauli Theater asked him about a year ago for an appropriate contribution. The result was a recital with the title: “Don’t touch it! Love in times of distance”.
The poster for this, you can often find it in Hamburg, shows a bottom with green panties and a yellow handprint. Completely youth-free, the St. Pauli Theater is located on Spielbudenplatz on the Reeperbahn, but right next to the Davidwache. It is one of the oldest theaters in Germany, founded in 1841. And Wittenbrink’s play is music theater. It is about the somewhat complicated closeness in the pandemic, in this case three generations of women and men. “The fact that man is actually a social being and that the longing for happiness, for togetherness, for community is actually one of the main drivers of man, have not been able to drive us out of the two lockdowns either”, it says in the announcement of the house.
The characters would meet with new constellations and manners, three actresses and three actors, “with wit and imagination”. Creator Wittenbrink, 73, composed songs and transformed others – Michael Jackson’s “Bad” became “Fett” due to a lack of movement. He has experience with curiosities, in his extensive career he created the play “Secretaries” at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, among other things, it is about the daily madness in the open-plan office. Or “Lust” at the St. Pauli Theater. Lust and the open-plan office recently suffered from the premise of social distancing, and the circumstances of the home office era also delayed the presentation of this project: the rehearsals had long since started, despite everything, the announcement was already in the showcases for February. But the stages were tight. This Wednesday was the preview, this Thursday is the premiere.
All over Hamburg they are playing or singing again after the months of the compulsory break. 14 premieres in September alone will be reported by the city’s largest theaters, including Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” at the Thalia Theater or “The Karamazov Brothers” and Shakespeare’s “Richard the Kid & the King”, the celebrated Salzburg Festival production by Karin Henkel, at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. Or “Wicked – The Musical” in the Stage Theater Neue Flora.
It is the continuation of a culture frenzy with which Hamburg is saying goodbye to the strictest phase in the fight against the viruses. From mid-July to mid-August there were events that often took place outside under the motto “Play it loud”, a kind of catharsis. The organizers reported more than 185,000 visitors to this comeback. Now, for example, the Harbor Front Literature Festival begins, this September 9th with Frank Schätzing in the Elbphilharmonie Small Hall. Then there are the Reeperbahn Festival and the Hamburg Film Festival.
The Elbphilharmonie has been live again since the beginning of June, Wolfgang Niedecken will soon be celebrating Bob Dylan there, followed by the Saxon State Orchestra with Christian Thielemann. At the beginning of October the Vienna Philharmonic will come with conductors Alain Altinoglu and Gautier Capuçon on the cello; they will play Antonín Dvořák and César Franck. The Elbphilharmonie, this Hamburg global success – it will be five years old on January 11, 2022.
With 3 G, with 2 G, with 2 G +? These are fundamental questions in these weeks, as Hamburg’s cultural world is really awakening again. The red-green Senate of Mayor Peter Tschentscher is offering the 2 G option to houses that take part, i.e. access only for vaccinated and convalescent people, not also for those who have been tested. For this they are allowed to fill all spaces as before. Some try, others wait, there are many details to be clarified. Christoph Lieben-Seutter suggests version 2 G +, to which those who can show a negative PCR test result would also have access. With “Don’t touch!” In the St. Pauli Theater there is still 3 G. By far, of course.