Five Questions with Maria Dizzia « Culturebot:
I saw a production of Arturo Ui at the Berliner Ensemble that Heiner Muller directed. He had died, but they were using his direction to put it up again the way ballet companies restage a choreographer’s work. Martin Wuttke was playing Ui (I had no idea who he was) and he started the show without a shirt, galloping around stage on all fours and panting. His tongue was painted bright red and he never put it back in his mouth. When his saliva would get out of control, he would just lash his head back and fling it off. I thought, my god that actor’s endurance is amazing, I hope he has a good part in one of the other plays this season. It went on forever and then Mr. Wuttke got up, still panting like a dog–a few other actors entered, dressed him as a man and he became Arturo Ui. I was stunned. I thought he was so powerful–playful as an actor, but sinister as his character. The whole play was genuinely terrifying, but also made me laugh and experience emotions I had not felt in a theater yet–dread and solemnity. I always think about how much he did and how he could be simultaneously so deft and admirable as an actor and so incompetent and repulsive as his character. That duality was exciting to me and made me think, that really is how the world works. It is horrible and funny and we are negligent and virtuosic along the way.