Bohemia, a desert country near the sea A reading in four chapters

Joachim Janner
3. September
7:00 pm
6. September
8:00 pm
24. September, 1. October
7:00 pm
Category A
25 €
Category B
20 €
Category C
10 €

Chapter I, 3 September
Dearest Bastard

Sven-Eric Bechtolf & Charlotte Schwab read from Shakespeare's villains

Chapter II, 6 September
Seek to solve the damndest Questions

Vanessa Redgrave & Armin Mueller-Stahl read texts by Harold Pinter, Heinrich Heine and François Villon in English and German

Chapter III, 2 September
Venus and Adonis

Jutta Lampe reads from Shakespeare's epic poem

Chapter IV, 1 October
The Bridge: a song and spoken word journey into night,
performed by the X- patsys

Conceived and performed by Barbara Sukowa (vocals), Robert Longo and Jon Kessler (electric guitars); with Anthony Coleman (keyboards), Anton Fier (drums) and Sean Conly (electric bass)


Berlin, Zoo Station and from there a couple of minutes walk to an apartment house. The study of the famous set-designer Karl Ernst Herrmann is located on the 2nd floor. Chairs, a high desk, a drawing table, chandeliers, no curtains, no carpets, no coffee. A room so spartan as to be suitable only for work.
»Are we finished, or what?« The set-designer wants to end the conversation. »There's still the matter of Bohemia... Did you know that Bohemiadid actually once lie near the sea?« »Bohemia!« The set-designer freezes for a moment. He gets up. Suddenly he seems desperate. »Bohemia! We all fail at that. Bohemiaon the stage – it's practically impossible:« He sits down once more. »Bohemiareally was near the sea?« And then, »Don't write that! Leave it out! That would mean everything is lost. All the magic! All of Shakespeare!«

It has to be: In Renaissance geographies Bohemia really does lie on the coast. They refer to the Bohemiankingdom of Ottokar II, who in the 13th century was able to expand his territory through force of arms and inheritance until it reached the shores of the Adriatic.
Shakespeare made open use of his colleague Robert Greene's novel Pandosto (1588) for this scenery of words. He quite simply wanted to give his play The Winter's Tale (1610) an unusual, romantic setting. His Bohemia is a kingdom near the sea, where shepherds and clowns still use fairy gold to lead a peaceful existence. A rural realm in which marvellous conditions prevail. Shakespeare has Perdita, the newborn daughter of King Leontes, grow up here, far away from the frosty situation at his court. The circumstance that the humanists of the 16th century relied on obsolete sources for the history of European countries may perhaps be excused as a pardonable lapse. Let us keep in mind that the Bohemia of Shakespeare and Greene should in no way be seen as some kind of fantasy-land but rather as a protected area for unprotected individuals. The dream is over. We dream on.
In the RuhrTriennale’s literature programme this year actors will be reading from dreams and from fairy-tales that are possible.