Stage Photography of Nino Haratishvilis Drama «Anger» at the Theatre of Freiburg (Germany)

I had the huge pleasure to photograph at the dress rehersal of Nino Haratishvilis piece «Zorn» (Anger) at the theatre of Freiburg (Germany). This was the first time I used my brand new Nikon d810 for stage photography. Read more about the cameras capabilities in this particular field in this post.

Nino Haratishvilis piece «Zorn» (Anger) is an unmissable piece, definitively worth seeing, not least because of Julia Bührle-Nowikowas set design, of which more later.

The drama rests upon the individual strands, initially appearing scattered and isolated, in the course of the play increasingly congregating and more and more standing to reason. This masterful development of the characters is fascinating and exciting at once; the longer the drama takes, the more one understands the past of the piece, and it becomes a need to see the piece a second time.


A precisely cut drama, powerfully eloquent and  skillfully staged

Nino Haratishvili is well known for her vigorous, dense diction, but with this piece it becomes quite obvious, that she masters the craft of directing as well. Like in a tightly cut music video she lines up the single scenes with high intensity and cuts precisely from one dramatic culmination to the next one. This feels like beeing thrown form one emotion into another one, with a high pace.


For the audience this results in a thrilling, emotionally stirring evening at the theatre. The fact, that some dialogues were spoken completely bilingual only attract attention at the beginning. When Rafaela, the furious police officer – exquisitely acted by Johanne Eiworth – interrogates Anton, the supposed terrorist, their dialogue develops a momentum of its own, so the audience barely notices that one talks only in german while the other only uses the georgian language. In real life, the actor of «Anton», Paata Inauri, doesn’t speak german indeed. But he plays his role in such an authentic way, that this is of no importance.


The stage design develops into a fourth dimension

The set design Julia Bührle-Nowikowa proves to be a visually stunning, quite versatile work that becomes more and more interesting during the evening. Essentially it consists of a big spiral, made of an metal tube. This spiral becomes the center of manifold acting, somtimes it embodies an abstract space of thinking; then it develops  into a real area, into a bed, a interrogation room or a director’s office. The actors climb around on the spiral, even doing gymnastics like on an olympic bar.

Here again this dramaturgical back and forth is clearly noticeable, these fast changes between different states. Once the stage designs seems to be a materialized thought, then it turns into beeing an intuitively comprehensible area. The stage light design plays it’s part to the development of a nearly four-dimensional room.

Actually I didn’t want to write a theater citicism here, you can read one here in the Newspaper «Badischen Zeitung».


This is a photographic question as well: When does the scenic density reach its culmination point?

From the photographers standpoint this evening was a delicate challenge. Since I hadn’t read nor seen the piece before, it took quite a lot of attention, to catch the scenes at the right moment, when the acting is on its culmination point. Henri Cartier-Bressons  «le moment décisif» sends his regards, once again.

Concerning the picture composition the stage design with its three-dimensional structure offered an appealing challenge. It wasn’t merely a matter of the visual elements in the foreground of the image, of finding the right image composition just for them, mostly there was a second tableau going on in the background.

In this situations you have to quickly adjust the depth of field, using the aperture. By doing so you can intentionally integrate or exclude the background. It is very nice in such situations to have a camera that offers the required scope for such a job. The shadowing of the actors offered additional rich creative possibilities. Rarely the third dimension had demanded such attention from me.

The Nikon D810, wich I got only recently, some few hours before, made an excellent impression. More on that in a furthermore post.


Direction: Nino Haratischwili
Stage design: Julia Bührle-Nowikowa
Costumes: Gunna Meyer
Light: Mario Bubic
Music: Maia Koberidze
Dramaturgy: Viola Hasselberg

With the following actors of  the Theatre of Freiburg:

Rafaela: Johanna Eiworth
Adam: Victor Calero
Celia: Iris Melamed
Antonia: Marie Bonnet
Oskar: Henrik Heutmann

With the following actors of  the Tumanishvili Theatre (Tbilisi, Georgia):

Anton: Paata Inauri
Rula: Anamaria Gurgenishvili
Martha: Nino Burduli

Musician: Maia Koberidze