set design Magdalena Maciejewska
music Jacek Grudzień, Leszek Możdżer, Piotr Domiński
loghting Jacqueline Sobiszewski
video Bartek Macias
dramaturgs: Rita Czapka / Susanne Meister
cast: Sylvie Rohrer, Katarzyna Warnke, Sven Dolinski, Philipp Hauß, Markus Meyer, Wolfgang Michael, Tomasz Tyndyk
Performance played at Burgtheater, Vienna.
Henry has built the empire but he's gradually losing the strenght. His sons, revelling in the perspective of being in control, dream of the end of his reign. Which of them has the claim to take over the empire? John - the youngest, favoured by the father, Geoffrey - the wise one, always searching for profits or Richard - the eldest and the most experienced? While they are contending with each other, Henry the Old Lion is playing his game. Still full of energy and appetite for life, he questions the necessity of giving away anything that belongs to him. Does he really has to give up his young lover Alais, who according to her ambitious brother's will is to be married to the successor? After all, he must realize that his worst enemy is none of his sons but his own wife Eleanor who, despite all the humiliations she suffered from Henry, takes pride in ruling the family and pulls the strings. She jealously tries to put all sorts of difficulties in his way and to get his love back. She declares her war on the Lion for the last time.
Grzegorz Jarzyna transforms a medieval story concerning English King Henry II into a modern piece. The fight is no longer for provinces and counties but for the market of global financial empire owned by the family. But the intrigues remain the same - it's always about disappointment, passion and lust for power. The fights for love, power and success haven't changed for centuries.
Grzegorz Jarzyna on the play:
The Lion in Winter is a play written by James Goldman in the 60s in Shakespearean style. The struggle between King Henry II and his wife determine their whole life. By fighting for being in control in fact they fight for their love - the only aim of all the intrigues, betrayals and crimes is to excite the partner and to see whether he/she still cares. Seven characters, seven leads.
I'm not very into politics, in theatre I focus on people. In this case I'm interested in the way human life is connected to what happens in the society and the politics. The characters of The Lion in Winter forgo everything for power. Love no longer matches their life and the image they had created.
Burgtheater in co-production with TR Warszawa
premiere in Burgtheater, Vienna, 17 November 2007