Larissa Gilke

Klasmann-Deilmann China helps Shakespeare

Berlin’s “Schaubühne” company brings peat onto Chinese stage

A substrate is normally used as the medium for cultivating plants. But Berlin’s Schaubühne Theatre cultivated something very special in peat provided by Klasmann-Deilmann China: during its tour of China, the Schaubühne Theatre brought peat onto the stage for its production of Shakespeare’s Richard III.

“A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse” are the last words spoken by the tyrannical king Richard III as he flees from the battle of Bosworth before being cut down by his rival. Marked by natural deformity, in Shakespeare’s play the king plays the role of a villain. Murders and intrigues help him to gain the throne, even though his reign founded on bloody deeds does not last long.

Director Thomas Ostermeier turns the gloomy historical play by English playwright William Shakespeare into a peaty affair: for its performances in Harbin Grand Theatre and in Tianjin Grand Theatre in China, the theatre ensemble with leading man Lars Eidinger acted on a stage covered with peat. Supplied by Klasmann-Deilmann China.

Photo: Arno Declair

Up until last year, Berlin’s Schaubühne Theatre at Lehniner Platz also obtained the peat needed for its productions from Klasmann-Deilmann. Back then, it was a brooding Prince Hamlet who wandered in peat across the stage to ask that most philosophical of all questions: “To be or not to be?”. The cooperation began already back in 2010. At that point in time, the Schaubühne used our Potgrond P for its production.

The first cultural appearance for one of our substrates took place in spring 2007 when Düsseldorf’s Schauspielhaus Theatre performed Federico García Lorca’s “Blood Wedding”. The gloomy atmosphere of the play was underlined by a crypt-like stage set with one of our black peat-based substrates on the floor. At the end of the season, the recyclable soils were used for soil improvement in Düsseldorf’s open spaces.


Photo: Duan Chao