The UW German Theatertruppe put on an innovative adaptation of an old comedy, proving that even 19th-century German humor can win laughs today. Georg Büchner's Leonce und Lena (1836) is an absurdist parody of fairy-tales, romantic love, idealist philosophy, and melancholic teen angst. The students of German 304 (German Play) served up a performance of this comedy that drew inspiration both from Büchner's older sources (commedia dell'arte physical comedy and Shakespeare) and from Büchner's future anticipations (the grunge music scene of Seattle Sound and Hamburger Schule). They played up the text's fascination with puppetry by having actors play multiple characters and replace each other on marionette strings. As Büchner wrote: “Puppets, that’s all we are, made to dance on strings by unknown forces; ourselves, we are nothing, nothing.”
The event (Jun 1 & 3) began in the main lobby of Denny Hall with a reception organized by UW German ambassador, Sara Koeck. After playing games to inform spectators about the play, its author, and the difficulties of telling humans from robots, the audience was ushered down to the Denny basement by two life-size marionettes. In the pit, students performed Leonce und Lena in the round to much laughter and applause.
The Student Players: Marianne Adler, Katie Carter, Moonjeog Choi, Clara Coyote, Shayden Freebairn, Xinlan Li, Maddie Longbottom, Garrett Love, Marilyn Moelhman, Hannah Probst, Binh Truong
Musical Director: Xinlan Li; Costume Designer: Moonjeog Choi; Dialect Coach: Hannah Probst; Program & Footnote Text: Marilyn Moelhman; Publicity: Maddie Longbottom; Promotion and Fundraising: Sara Koeck; Dramaturg: Matthew D. Straus; Director: Ellwood Wiggins