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Mephisto [A Rhapsody] - Gate Theatre rd th October 2019 Page 1 of 34 Mephisto · PDF file 2019. 10. 17. · Mephisto [A Rhapsody] - Gate Theatre –3rd October – 26th October 2019

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  • Mephisto [A Rhapsody] - Gate Theatre –3 rd

    October – 26 th October 2019 Page 1 of 34

    Mephisto [A Rhapsody]

    Audio Description

    Introduction

    Welcome to this audio

    introduction to Mephisto [A

    Rhapsody] at the Gate

    Theatre, by Samuel Gallet,

    translated from the French

    by Chris Campbell.

    Directed by Kirsty Housley,

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    it is adapted from the

    fiercely political cult novel

    by Klaus Mann, Mephisto

    [Rhapsodie]. The novel is

    based on the real-life story

    of Gustaf Gründgens whose

    dreams of fame led him to

    betray everything, and at

    the peak of his career,

    perform Faust for Hitler.

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    Please note that this

    production contains

    depictions of suicide and

    violence, swearing,

    references to fascism,

    racism, Islamophobia and

    drugtaking. It also contains

    flashing lights, haze, loud

    noises and cigarette smoke.

    The production lasts for 2

    hours and 20 minutes with

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    an interval of 10 minutes.

    Please check with the Box

    Office for the time of the

    touch tour. This

    introduction has been

    written by Ruth James.

    In the town of Balbek, the

    far right are about to seize

    power. At the local theatre

    Aymeric dreams of

    celebrity; Luca longs for a

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    liberal revolution; Michael is

    seduced by the extremists;

    Juliette Demba is in fear for

    her life. As this political

    earthquake convulses

    society, Aymeric must make

    his choice: resist the forces

    of hatred or harness them

    for his own success.

    As is usual at the Gate, the

    theatre is in a different

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    configuration. The entrance

    for this show is through the

    small door at the top of

    seven steps, leading up

    from the foyer. We emerge

    onto a red-carpeted

    platform at one end of the

    theatre, which has a small

    props table to the right and

    a clothes rack in front, at

    the end of the platform. To

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    the left are seven steps

    down into the acting and

    audience area, the first one

    very shallow, all covered by

    the same red carpet. There

    is a handrail on the right of

    the steps.

    The theatre is set out as a

    long, open room, 15 metres

    by 6 metres, with three

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    banked rows of black velvet

    benches for the audience

    on your right as you

    descend the steps, crossing

    the acting space to reach

    them.

    From the seats, the long

    wall opposite us behind the

    acting space, is covered

    with a reflective, metallic

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    golden surface, as is the

    wall behind the seating. To

    create different locations,

    purple velvet curtains can

    be drawn across, which

    hang on the far sides as we

    enter. Lighting and sound

    are also used to

    differentiate between

    locations, with bright neon

    strips along the top of the

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    wall and at intervals across

    the ceiling, which glow

    different colours to

    transform the space into

    separate rooms, a nightclub

    or a party. Sometimes an

    actor is held in a spotlight,

    while the rest of the space

    is plunged into darkness.

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    In the centre of the long wall

    is an opening, obscured by

    a long fringe of glittering

    gold metal strips, used as

    an exit. Above is a black

    panel, on which are

    projected indications of the

    location, such as ‘Balbek’,

    ‘To the Sea’ or ‘Capital’.

    There is another exit at the

    far right of the back wall,

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    and the actors also use the

    steps up to the platform.

    Using the clothes or props

    stored on the platform, they

    transform into other

    characters and sometimes

    change there, while the

    action continues elsewhere.

    To the right is a wooden

    wall, with a mirrored sign

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    reading ÁPPLAUSE’ above

    a wooden Stage Manager’s

    desk. Also above the desk

    is a row of birdies, small

    stage lights, and to its left is

    a tall stand holding several

    larger stage lights. The

    Stage Manager, Devika

    Ramcharan, sits behind the

    desk, operating the show

    from a computer, with her

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    script, or Book, before her

    and a monitor screen to her

    left. There is also a

    microphone and a small red

    anglepoise lamp. Dev is a

    brown woman, with purple

    hair cut in a short bob, with

    a headset and microphone.

    The Props Stage Manager,

    Nina Harding, is a white

    woman, her long curly

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    brown hair tied up in a

    ponytail. Both are dressed

    in black and move efficiently

    around the space, as, with

    the cast, they clear chairs

    and move props.

    As we arrive, there are six

    metal-framed chairs spaced

    across the red-carpeted

    floor, the frames painted red

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    and the seats and backs a

    yellow plastic. Under the

    chairs are set various

    props, such as a large blue

    plastic bag, beer bottles and

    suitcases. Various cast

    members walk through,

    chatting, reading their

    scripts or drinking from the

    beer bottles. The two Stage

    Managers also walk

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    through, making last minute

    checks.

    In one of the chairs sits a

    figure later identified as

    Klaus Mann, writer of the

    novel Mephisto

    [Rhapsodie], dressed in

    grey trousers, held up with

    striped grey braces, over a

    white shirt and blue-spotted

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    beige tie, feet shod in light

    brown brogues. Before the

    show starts, Klaus

    disappears and the same

    actor reappears as

    Barbara, a young white

    woman with long chestnut

    hair, some knotted at the

    back with a black ribbon

    away from her full fringe.

    Barbara arrives in a beige

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    trenchcoat, carrying a large

    brown suitcase, previously

    stored under her seat. Her

    short jeans are a light blue

    and she has a white blouse

    with a pattern of tiny black

    dots.

    Fabian Muller is a local

    MP, a distinguished white

    man in his 50’s, clad in a

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    dark blue suit, with a

    matching tie, with a small

    pin of the French flag in his

    lapel. His greying hair is cut

    short and he has a neat,

    greying moustache. His

    forehead is wrinkled into

    worry lines. The same

    actor also plays Théo

    Marber, in a dark brown

    tweedy jacket and black

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    polo

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