A Fairytale Castle built upon wishes…

by | Feb 5, 2021 | Raise the curtain

In this Advent production schedule we would have had our show – DORNRÖSCHEN (Sleeping Beauty) on the programme. As a small consolation for our loyal theatre audience, here is a little look behind the scenes of this production, which we brought to the stage at the KOLK in 2008. We hope to be able to bring Sleeping Beauty to life on the stage in 2021.

A piece comes into being, from the drawing board to the theatre stage

About the play Sleeping Beauty by KOBALT Puppet Theatre Lübeck

Twelve good fairies bring their gifts to the newborn Sleeping Beauty – twelve human values which, although appearing somewhat “aged” in comparison to present day values, remain eminently desirable. The gift of the thirteenth, uninvited, fairy initially looms menacingly over this idyll – the 100-year sleep.

To build a girl’s childhood and at the same time a castle out of these gifts of the thirteen fairies (by no means less!) was the basic idea of Silke Technau and Stephan Schlafke: a lively girl unwraps presents and gradually builds the castle of her childhood dreams. Stephan designed gift boxes in which staircases, columns, windows and niches appear when opened. Everything appears however, very straight and static.

My suggestion to give the set something of a dreamlike quality and enchanted by using unequal angles, in accordance with the figures that had been created in the meantime, was immediately accepted. So that Silke and Stephan could get an idea, I made a 1:10 cardboard model.

This approach unintentionally had a great advantage. Similar to origami, very clear, reduced forms emerged with a character all of their own. With six castle rooms – always two fairies bring a gift – and the rose tower of the thirteenth fairy, the “scenic structure” for the entire Sleeping Beauty fairytale castle was created.

In each of the castle rooms, Sleeping Beauty’s childhood is told one after the other. Seemingly carelessly placed away to the back after the scenes, these play locations gradually result in the castle façade. A bathroom which illustrates the immense sight lines from a child’s perspective, changes, as it were, into a stable tower foundation in the outer façade, a kitchen that appears in the façade as a stylised pot with a lid, an oriental-inspired dressing tower room that has a floating character inside and out, a cellar, where Sleeping Beauty has to prove her courage and which symbolises not only the ripening of the wine, a library where Sleeping Beauty learns to read and write turning over entire pages of walls, a central ballroom for dancing with large, translucent opera-gauze windows – and finally the rose tower of the thirteenth fairy, with its spiral staircase of thorns and a roof designed like a sleeping bonnet.

How the Sleeping Beauty Castle came into being

In these playful castle rooms, the wishes, values and characteristics of the fairies could now freely unfold. Accordingly, a reduced colour scheme in the black and white range was chosen for the castle walls, allowing the coloured figures a great deal of independence in their play. In the end, I built the castle out of plywood at a ratio of 1:10. However, many helpers were necessary in order to realise the lamination of the castle with rough torn cardboard and the painting/gilding by the time of the premiere.

In the midst of all the castle-building, an essential part of the set was almost lost sight of: What would Sleeping Beauty be without a growing rose hedge? This (and other sewing) was made possible by Denise Puri from Berlin. After a torch walk of the prince through the castle – the opera-gauze windows amplify the exciting atmosphere – the façade is turned 180 degrees at the end.

Now, seen from the other side, the castle interior appears like a large doll’s house. Together with Sleeping Beauty and the prince, the audience can take another look at all the stages of her childhood.

But then Sleeping Beauty wants to go out into the world, and the prince takes her along on his smoking “dragon bike” (white horses are long outdated after 100 years). The audience is left with Oskar, the kitchen boy, who, also awoken after 100 years, wishes Sleeping Beauty a happy birthday, and the castle.

– An end full of yearning for the production in Lübeck.

Text by Martin Buchin

Director: Holger Brüns

Actors: Silke Technau, Stephan Schlafke

Set design: Michaela Bartonová,

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