I composed the music and played the piano, and acted, for some years in Kleine Deutsche Szene Oslo, a small theatre group which started in the environment in and around the German Church in Oslo, more accurately the German Evangelical Congregation, in their building in Eilert Sundts gate, close to Bogstadveien.

The house used to be an old villa, I guess you must call it, until the church bought it around 1960. The interior of the room used for services, which covers most of the ground floor, is drawn by Thilo Schoder, a Bauhaus architect who married a Norwegian woman and settled in Kristiansand before the war. He has drawn quite a few houses there and also elsewhere in Norway, some in Oslo too.

It is not exactly a Bauhaus interior, the one in Eilert Sundts gate, more typically 60s style, I think, but nice and a good location and nice acoustics for music and acting.

The theatre group was and is led by Ulrike Niemann, professional director and with an education in Kulturpädagogik, from GermanyCultural…pedagogics, teaching, I don’t think we have that exact type of education here in Norway, but it seems really useful.

She had a democratic style of leading the work, and at the same time a sense of direction. In the end the group wrote a lot of the texts which we used for the plays, and elaborated others, and I got the chance of commenting quite a lot and I hope contributing to the directing, which I thought was really interesting.

The rest was interesting too.

We made one performance per year, we usually finished and premiered after Easter, two shows, after having rehearsed and written and worked with things since autumn.

It was a lot of fun, on and off stage, good acting, I always thought, really good humour in all the projects, and Ulrike Niemann and Claudia Lingscheid, who later on also participated in leading the work, and took over when Ulrike got pregnant – they must have had a lot of practical toil on the side of the artistic considerations and work.

The music published here was written to a collection of four Shakespeare pieces, well, actually a little less because they were elaborated on, the ideas were Shakespeare’s , but the texts were written by Walter Richartz, German natural scientist and writer. Anyway Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Hamlet.

Sometimes the story continued, in The Midsummer Night’s Dream the action went on in another fantasy land but with references to the original play, and also a part of Shakespeare’s original text was used, a scene with the clowns being clumsy and saying and doing, well, stupid things. There was a monologue, the apothecary from Romeo and Juliet tried to explain or excuse his fatal role as the salesman of the poison which killed the two. Hamlet started with everyone lying dead on stage, starting a row over what happened and who were to blame for everything.

Mostly, my music started and ended each scene and that was basically that, not many musical illustrations during the scenes.

Director: Ulrike Niemann. 

Actors: Friedbert Baur, Mandy Jännsch, Lina Naß, Birgit Steffens, Christine Höffgen, 

Christina Proenen, Claudia Lingscheid, Erik Gøthesen, Ulrike Niemann and Astrid Siegmund-Breivik. 

Piano: Erik Gøthesen. 

Technician on stage (not here): Sören Giesow. 

The recordings are not professional – I still hope you can hear basically what I’ve been trying to do. It is a lot of work when you work alone, to learn everything necessary to get professional enough that in the end you maybe earn a little money, too. 

An ouverture which was not used as ouverture, but maybe played when the audience came in, I usually took things that were written, but not used in the play itself and used them for this kind of introduction music.

A link to the blog of Christian Erhard – with pictures.

„Alles Gute zum 450. Geburtstag!“ – oder: „Shakespeares verrückte Geschichten“