10 questions for the storyteller Lidwina Wurth

by | Aug 31, 2022 | A look in the depot, Interviews

Storyteller Lidwina Wurth playing a pirate at KOLK 17 Figure Theatre & Museum © Thorsten Wulff

Storyteller Lidwina Wurth

KOLK 17: Dear Lidwina, in December it will be three years since you last guided our guests through our museum dressed as a pirate by torchlight. What project are you working on at the moment? 

Well, at the moment I can’t perform that much because I’m not allowed to perform as a singer due to Corona.  Thanks to certain hygiene rules, a performance can only take place in very large rooms with a very small audience. That’s why I’m working on small formats, for example a reading accompanied by a lutenist. This is partly done with very old instruments, such as an Arabic oud, a banjo or a baroque guitar.  

Small prose poems by the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez are presented, entitled “Platero and I”, a story between a donkey and a human accompanied by the lute. I also sing Spanish songs between the short texts. Unfortunately, it is not yet clear when the first performance will be as we are still looking for suitable venues. 

Another thing you can definitely see will be at the “Combinale” theatre… A Christmas play this year, “The Messiah“.

KOLK 17: It’s already six years ago, but hopefully you can remember: What was your first torch tour with us in autumn 2014 like for you?

Yes, of course I remember! It was very, very exciting.  A large part of that was because it was dark as pitch! It was unusual and I was really scared of the puppets. Obviously, because their eyes can be quite scary and on top of that I heard noises! I was all alone there in the dark, I heard noises and I was sure that the puppets were moving! I was waiting for the audience, who I could already hear, but who were not allowed to see me. That moment was really exciting!

KOLK 17: Did you know KOLK 17 Puppet Theatre & Museum before?

I only knew it from the outside. I studied singing at the Musikhochschule, which is around the corner, and of course I often walked past, but I never went inside so that I first got to know the puppets and this whole world through Sascha Mink, the director, and you.

KOLK 17: Embedded in the story of the house ghost, Jacqueline Dotterbart, you told the visitors a lot of interesting facts about our characters. Which knowledge about which character surprised you the most?

There was rather a lot… among other things…the Bunraku Theatre, where it takes a very long training to be allowed to play it at all. For three years, the prospective player is only allowed to lead the legs, then the left arm for three years, and only then the head and the right arm. What a tradition!  

Or it occurs to me that the Indian character of Sita is so thickly dressed. She was never stripped of her clothes, but was always given new layers of clothing by the following generation of players. This respect for the character is fascinating!

KOLK 17: Which puppet or character from the world of theatre figures do you personally like best?

Of course, Punch and Judy!  Punch in all his variations, in all countries! Because I like to have fun myself, because I like to bring fun to the audience and because I like to simply bring joy to people as a clown.

KOLK 17: You involved the audience in a charming way in your ghostly pirate role. Of course, the animated visitors all behaved differently and you had to react spontaneously like in improvised theatre… So despite the rehearsed story, no two torch tours were the same. Did you have something along the lines of stage fright before the performances?

Yes! Always! Every time! I also remember that a week before the performance I went through the texts internally, this over and over again, because I knew I would be interrupted. I was interrupted by the audience with questions. My role was not just a monologue and every performance, every lead was different. And that was also the exciting thing about it, that you were constantly being pestered with questions to which you then had to know a real answer or come up with an answer, because as a house ghost I had to know everything: How old is a character? Where does it come from or what kind of material is it made of… That was always exciting but the questions could also totally throw you off your game.

KOLK 17: Is there a torch tour that you particularly liked and remembered?

I remember that when I asked a child for a favorite song, the child really just dared to say out of 20, 30 people, “Yes! I have got one!” and sang his favorite pirate song to me all by himself in front of everyone! I found that very moving!

One thing was also very funny: at the end I always made this demand for a gift to redeem the audience so that the guests could leave again.

One child gave me his chewing gum. The child searched feverishly in his pockets for something and took the chewing gum out of his mouth. In this day and age -because of Corona- I wouldn’t do it, of course, but back then I put the gum in my mouth. It was so sweet, the child was still very small and he gave me this gum in awe! 

KOLK 17: You have a classical singing education and teach singing at the Music and Art School Lübeck. During the flashlight tours, you had to take turns singing, speaking, and telling interesting facts about the characters! Which of these do you enjoy the most?

It’s the mixture! The mix of everything and the “ability to be spontaneous”, the improvised theatre. Picking people up where they are. Seeing what the mood is like, how many children, how many adults, how do the audience sing along, how do they listen? I found that very exciting! When everyone sang along, that was of course great! But also when they were very, very quiet because a very scary story was being told by the voodoo doll, captivated, everyone listened, as if all were under one spell. That was very beautiful!

KOLK 17: The low temperatures in our old houses were certainly a challenge during the cold season! Do you remember how hot it was when you slipped into the role of Sams? In a real diving suit you enchanted the children as Sams and then changed in no time at all and came along as Mr. Taschenbier. How did you like this role?

That was super, really great! The nose, I still love the pig’s nose! Exciting and also exhausting because it was very hot in the diving suit. I could hardly breathe in the summer!  With the fins it was difficult to walk up the stairs in the wonderfully narrow house. The move from Taschenbier to Sams had to be done very quickly. Within one or two minutes! This unnoticed by the spectators. The challenge was to disappear into a corner, change clothes and then immediately appear as, for example, Mr Taschenbier. The fascinating thing was that most of the children didn’t notice that I was both of them and they really said to Mr. Taschenbier: “That’s where Sams ran to! Where is Sams? Come on! We’re looking for Sams!” I just thought it was hilarious that they really hadn’t noticed, that I was Mr. Taschenbier and Sams in one!

KOLK 17: If Sams were to visit you with three wish points, what wishes would you ask of him? Attention, please wish correctly!

That is difficult! Funnily enough, you think you have so many wishes. But when you only have three wishes, then… Right now, the first thing I would say is that I would like to have normality again! Normality as a singer! Just to be able to move freely again and to be able to sing in my profession again would be the first wish!

The second wish is clearly health for my friends, my family, for me. That would be a very important wish! 

The third wish is, of course, that the museum opens quickly! And that I appear again in the museum as some kind of ghost or in some form whatsoever! I would be very, very happy about that!

Thank you very much!

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