This light-hearted story of Die Fledermaus tells of the revenge taken by a certain Dr. Falke on this Gabriel von Eisenstein for playing a practical joke on him. Set in a raucaus London nightclub, this farcical story is stretched and morphed through a contemporary lens of leather, rabbit heads and a drug fuelled celebration.
stage design provocation and references
Opera is typically a traditional affair – by pushing the boundaries, adding darker elements of S&M clubs and circus cabaret – a strange parallel to the Victorian theatre was created with a modern twist. The false opera box then serves as an entrance to the party in the following scenes, a grand entrance for the guests. The ‘ball’ is in some trendy London Underground club, pill box girls give treats to the guests, a glamazonian woman in black leather commands the attention of the stage, champagne is served from a bathtub… Prince Orlovsky’s character was inspired by a drug fueled fantasy world similar to that of Micheal Jackson, halfway through the second act silence falls amongst the raucous… he appears almost dreamlike in a rabbit costume and magical ‘snow’ falls from the false pros and goes perfectly with the score.
The ball is a complete farce, serving to humiliate Eisenstein as revenge for humiliating Dr Falke many years ago, and is funded by the rich and unhinged Prince Orlovsky. The third act is a ‘scene change’ with ‘Stage Managers’ to really showcase this idea to the audience. The main scenic element is a huge 15m high false pros drowned in red velvet, a fitting frame for a completely falsified world, at one point Dr Falke walks onstage through a concealed door in the pros’ leg. The scenic flats truck on and offstage swiftly and silently without any notice from Eisenstein.
As the finale plays out the set is swiftly removed from the stage, leaving Eisenstein and Rosalinde looking utterly confused in what remains of the ultimate farce. In this world – was anything, even their relationship, ever real?
director Martin Constantine
costume designer Lisa Leighton
lighting designer Jack Ramplin
producer Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff
venue Weston Studio, Wales Millenium Centre
photographer Kirsten McTernan