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Strong girls

"The Snow Queen" is one of the most well-known fairy tales. Even Hollywood has jumped on it. How do you deal with that, Brigitte Dethier?

The Snow Queen
Musical theatre based on Hans Christian Andersen by Samuel Penderbayne; Libretto by Christian Schönfelder
Director: Brigitte Dethier
With Sophia Körber, Theresa Pilsl, Marlene Gaßner, Alexandra Ionis, Martin Gerke, Jonas Böhm, Hanna Plaß, Louise Leverd, Jone Bolibar Núñez, Jack Adler-McKean, Henriette Zahn, Daniel Eichholz
22 Nov. to 29 Dec. 2019

The second part of the Disney film Frozen is coming to theatres at the same time as your premiere. How do you fight against Disney?
We have a piano on stage, a cello, a tuba, we're making musical theatre. That is a unique, wonderful art form that is not competing with Frozen. Our piece will be more reminiscent of the fairy tale template from Hans Christian Andersen. At the same time, however, I would like to show a different type of woman than Andersen. Gerda will not be a girl pining after a friend, no matter how badly he treats her. What sets it apart from Disney, in turn, is that we won't have girls wearing blue dresses, no long eyelash extensions, no wasp waists.

How does one plant new images in the minds of urban children?
The entire room is our stage. The children are sitting in the middle of it, and singers and musicians perform around them. If the children are able to make it to the theatre, I rely on the direct experience. But of course adults are always needed to bring the children into the theatre to begin with.

How do you create a blockbuster?
Good ingredients are humour, warmth and tension. And we have to know exactly what's going on with our audience. With children you can sometimes sense real physical unease if they can't handle what's happening. So we respond to this during rehearsal and ask: how do we need to be on stage? Loud, quiet, or completely still?

 

 
Brigitte Dethier is artistic director of the Junges Ensemble Stuttgart and is considered one of the most experienced directors of children's and youth theatre. She is staging THE SNOW QUEEN at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, with music by Samuel Penderbayne.