Pierrot Lunaire

Pierrot Lunaire
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Pierrot Lunaire

Nel 1912 l’attrice Albertine Zehme chiese al compositore Arnold Schönberg di scrivere un accompagnamento musicale per la raccolta di poesie Pierrot Lunaire del belga Albert Giraud: per cinque musicisti e una cantante, Schönberg arrangiò 21 delle 50 poesie trasformandole in una delle sue più innovative opere per il teatro musicale. Nel 2011 il direttore d’orchestra Premil Petrovic ha chiesto al regista Bruce LaBruce di dirigere una versione teatrale di Pierrot Lunaire con l’attrice Susanne Sachsse come cantante e attrice nel ruolo del titolo. Questa versione teatrale si basa sulla profonda conoscenza di Schönberg del cabaret, che lo portò in un mondo onirico, pieno di “nostalgia decadente, senso di colpa, rapimento e paura”, dotato di scenari horror e di un umorismo ironico satirico. Nel 2013 LaBruce porta Pierrot Lunaire per le strade di Berlino per girare una storia dark, piena di nostalgia, amore e trasgressione. Questo film ha come colonna sonora l’interpretazione di Petrovic del melodrama musicale di Schönberg, cantata dalla Sachsse. Basato su di una storia vera, il Pierrot Lunaire di LaBruce rappresenta una versione queercore, opportunamente radicale, di uno dei contributi più innovativi alla musica atonale. Spiega Bruce LaBruce: “Mentre ascoltavo la musica di Arnold Schönberg, ho cercato di associarvi un concetto che, da un lato si accoppiasse bene con l’umore della musica atonale e, dall’altro lato, potesse essere combinato con le poesie di Albert Giraud in un contesto più contemporaneo. Dalla giungla dei pensieri del mio inconscio è risalita una storia che dovrebbe essere accaduta alcuni decenni fa a Toronto, e che è tanto strana quanto universale (…): una giovane ragazza, che si veste regolarmente da ragazzo, si innamora e seduce un’altra ragazza, che non ha la minima idea che il suo amante abbia il suo stesso sesso. Quando la ragazza presenta “il suo fidanzato” a suo padre, questi diventa sospettoso e smaschera la frode e non permette loro di rivedersi mai più. Furioso e delirante il “ragazzo” progetta un piano avventuroso per dimostrare la sua “mascolinità” al padre della sua amante.” Il film ha vinto il Premio della Giuria al Teddy Award 2014 con la seguente motivazione: ” La Giuria del Teddy vorrebbe riconoscere un nuovo importante pezzo del lavoro di Bruce LaBruce, il Pierrot Lunaire, come un significativo tassello della sua opera complessiva, che continua nell’esplorazione della nozione di ‘Queer’ in tutti i suoi significati. Fondendo teatralità con un linguaggio cinematografico tagliente, una straordinaria prestazione di Susanne Sachse con un sofisticato uso della musica, Bruce ricombina questi elementi rinnovando l’avanguardia classica.”



trailer: Pierrot Lunaire


A trans man lost in a world of desire, symbols, and fantasies. In this newly refashioned version of a classic love story, Schönberg’s music and Giraud’s poetry provide the dramatic framework for the tale of Pierrot: A young woman that regularly dresses as a man falls in love and seduces a young girl that has no clue that her lover has the same sex. When the girl introduces her boyfriend* to her father, he becomes skeptical and unmasks the fraud. Even though, strangely, the feelings of the girl persist without shifting, the father does not allow them to ever see each other again. Furious and delusional the man* develops an adventurous plan to prove his* true ‘masculinity’ to the father of his* lover. (Written by Bruce LaBruce)

INTERVISTA di Michael Ladner (buttmagazine.com)
Bruce and his art director Cyril Duval

Michael: Bruce La Bruce directing an opera? I didn’t know you were a lover of classical music.
Bruce: I’ve never been an opera queen, although I listen to a classical music station whenever I’m at my barber’s, who always has it on. So I don’t know much about opera, but I like the sound of it: dramatic and melodramatic. But the classical music world per se doesn’t interest me so much. It seems kind of stuffed and mounted.

So how did this project come to be? Did you choose Pierrot Lunaire yourself? What drew you to this opera?
B: I didn’t choose it; it chose me. The Serbian conductor Premil Petrovic, who is a friend of my frequent collaborator, the actor Susanne Sachße, suggested that we mount a production of Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with Premil conducting and me directing, and Susanne starring. I jumped at the chance to work with Susanne again, and I was also interested in directing an existing musical work that I could interpret.

And how did you join the project, Cyril?
Cyril: Bruce and I have wanted to do a larger production together for few years. About a year and a half ago Bruce mentioned he was going to direct an opera…
B: …we actually prefer to refer to Pierrot Lunaire as simply a musical melodrama now…
C: And Bruce wanted me to be the art director and stage designer. He mentioned that the highlight would be a glory hole-guillotine, and obviously that conceptual slice of humor was just the right thing to bring me in!

The character Pierrot has dramatically evolved over time and can embody a wide range of characteristics from the fool, the narcissist, the dreamer. How did you assemble your Pierrot?
B: I decided to apply a narrative to Pierrot Lunaire, and the one I chose was based on an urban legend from Toronto, a gruesome and tragic tale involving a female-to-male transsexual. So our Pierrot is a female dressed as a male, but also living and believing she is male. It was only after I decided to use this story that I discovered that Schönberg actually intended for the role of Pierrot to be played by a female.

What is the Toronto-based story that was the inspiration for your version?
B: I don’t want to reveal too much. It happened 20 or 30 years ago. A female living as a male decided, for various reasons, she needed a cock of her own, so she went hunting for one… That’s all I can say.

Was there an overall aesthetic concept for the stage design?
C: I tried few paths, first obsessing about a mirrored castle sculpture that Michael Jackson used to own. Then I looked at classical German Expressionism — like Murnau’s Nosferatu, or Fritz Lang’s M — which were the obvious key references. But I also turned to traditional arts like Butoh and Bunraku, who enhanced my Japanese way of understanding what I conceived of as expressionist minimalism. Also some rare Schönberg drawings, early Keith Haring paintings, or movies from the ’80s and ’90s such as Tron, Hellraiser, or Twin Peaks. Finally, I was inspired by the contemporary makeup artist Alex Box and indulging myself in low-key video games from my childhood. In the end it’s like looking down at abyss and falling. I actually call it “Merzbau on Steroids,” based on Kurt Schwitters’s Merzbau. The whole thing is largely rendered in black and white with reflective tape adding another dimension.

What’s the juiciest scene?
B: The dick-capitation! Actually, there are two — a fake one and a “real” one. The dildo situation is kind of complicated. I’m not even sure I understand it yet.
C: Bruce created the concept of dick-capitation, I’m pretty sure this is to be heard again! We ended up using something very simple, an oversized glowing blade sliding down on a web of black rubber. But the body of the guillotine itself is nested in a massive scaffold installation with two infinite poles for Luizo Vega to perform acrobatics on and finally chop his manhood off in a David Copperfield-like stunt.

If you could use the glory hole-guillotine on anybody, whose cock would you chop off?
B: Sarah Palin’s!
C: Lady Gaga’s, though I presume that as Hydra she has several, so more would grow back.

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