“I am completely through with theater. I’m having nothing more to do with it”, said the 69-year-old Swiss in a conversation with journalists in Berlin. “None of these all-star, creme de la creme stage directors in the German theater will allow empathy [with the character one plays]. They shy away from it like the devil from holy water. There’s nothing in it for me anymore.”
I never saw him onstage, but I imagine he was always tremendous. He’s probably living very comfortably from film work and doesn’t need to work at all if he doesn’t want to. The fact that he has been doing theater work at all shows how dedicated he’s been to his art. The stage director has been elevated to a rank higher than anyone else in a production, including the stars. His (sometimes her) concept, in collaboration with the set and costume designer, is what mostly gets reviewed these days in German-speaking theaters. (And by “these days” I mean in the last, oh, 30 years.) A genuine star like Ganz must look at these younger and younger directors, and their need to work with today’s demands for audience provocation, and just shake his head.
For a little fun: How To Opera Germanly. There have been a couple recent additions to the list (I’m not sure how I feel about 27!) But there’s some truth under the humor. We’ve all been in productions that had some of these, er, qualities.