by Frank Wedekind in an adaptation by Bastian Kraft
The Munich dramatist Frank Wedekind spent over twenty years working on what he called his monster tragedy which, due to harsh censorship, would never be performed in his home city during his lifetime. It was too indecent, too lewd. In Lulu, Wedekind created a snake, a creature «to tempt, to seduce» – and to murder. For her lovers, Lulu is like a screen onto which they can project their desires – whatever a man wants, he will find it in her. And it goes further: Lulu’s seductions drive an entire succession of her lovers in Munich and Paris to their deaths until she ultimately throws herself into death’s arms in the back streets of London.
«When I saw myself in the mirror, I wanted to be a man … My husband!»
In his prologue Wedekind reveals the name of an even more dangerous predator present in this play: «Esteemed audience!» Because it is not only for the men in the play that Lulu is a value, something that can be measured in terms of one’s own increased pleasure. She must also continuously expose herself to the objectifying gaze of the audience. Lulu displays projections from both the public and the director, she is a screen upon which images of women are dissected. Who actually lies behind these two erotic syllables? Director Bastian Kraft explores this question by making Lulu speak only with Lulu. Played by three actresses, Lulu works through her own story in a polyphonic dialogue with herself. In doing so she takes control of her own destiny. The linear plot dissolves and Lulu encounters her lovers by playing the men herself. As a result, the power of desire shifts into the erotic tension of blurring gender boundaries. And the thrill of cross dressing does not reveal a female image but Lulu’s perspective on the male world that Wedekind portrays in this play.
Bastian Kraft’s multimedia adaptations pare down literary classics to their essential core characters, giving them a new narrative voice and point of view, and have taken him to the German-speaking world’s most prestigious stages. With «Lulu» here in Munich he will now continue his intensive exploration of video art on stage, in which – for all its formality – he nevertheless succeeds in placing the actor at the centre of his multi award-winning work.