Two young men, a minimalist set and a dark background – that might be your first impression when the trailer to the musical play begins, but it certainly won’t be your last.
The two young men passionately throwing themselves into the drama Play Luther are actors Till Florian Beyerbach and Lukas Ullrich. “We were looking for an exciting theme set in the past but one that has changed the world to this day,” is how Beyerbach describes their motivation for staging a play about Martin Luther. “As actors we have both worked at different theatres, where we have encountered the great German writers Goether, Schiller and so on, but the actual roots, the inventor of the German language in general, has not been honoured – Martin Luther,” he adds.
Free from convention
The two actors formed the drama group EURE FORMATION (Your Formation) and have invested a great deal of time and effort in the play. “All in all it has been a year from having the idea of doing a play about Martin Luther to the day of the premiere,” the actors explain. But they did not want to be entirely on their own, so they sought first-rate support. “Whether or not an audience likes a portrayal and interpretation is a matter of taste, but it was important to us to get the facts right. So we brought in the director, actor and expert in Church matters Uwe Hoppe. He tailored a script to our wishes and gave us plenty of advice.” But they also looked for assistance with the musical elements. Musician Andrew Zbik provides the harmonious melodies as musical director.
For 90 minutes the audience is immersed in the life and work of Martin Luther. Dramatic interludes, dialogues, music and song provide a most unconventional perspective on the debate about the Church in the past and the present. It was important to Beyerbach and Ullrich that external influences didn’t impose a certain form on them, but that they could independently develop their own style. This decision is reflected in the stage set. If at first it appears somewhat bulky, it soon becomes self-explanatory. Consisting of many triangles, as symbols for the Holy Trinity, in the course of the play it becomes a metaphor for the continuing development of society and the confession.
Recognition for their work
The actors have been vindicated by their success. Since Play Luther premiered last year, their staging has received a lot of positive feedback. This recognition provides the motivation for new projects. “We are really pleased with the positive response we’ve had, including from the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg and many audience members too.” The actors are delighted with the feedback they have received. “We keep getting new bookings because enthusiastic audience members tell people about us. That is very touching.”
What is unique about Play Luther is the shifts between music, moderation and the dramatic scenes. Through the reflection of the individual stylistic elements on stage the actors question individual statements through their figures too. “It’s not just a simple portrayal of scenes from Luther’s life, we’re trying to challenge the audience to ask questions of itself. Because reformation is an ongoing process,” is how Beyerbach explains the play’s staging.
The actors are already planning new projects. At the moment they are developing new themes and looking forward to how they might pan out.
This year Play Luther is still playing in several towns and cities. Full event information on the musical play can be found in the section “Dates and Events”.