Sandra Hüller plays the main role in "Hamlet" at the Bochum Schauspielhaus. For her, the television recording of the play was an intimate experience.
taz on the weekend: Ms. Hüller, the Bavarian Radio recently called you a Corona victim …
Sandra Hüller: I beg your pardon? (laughs)
… and meant the unusual award ceremony for the Gertrud-Eysoldt-Ring and the Theaterpreis Berlin as well as the unusual one Opening of the theater meeting with "Hamlet" and you in the title role. How dramatic is that for you?
It is not dramatic for me at all.
Born in 1978 in Suhl, is one of the most talented theater and film actresses in the country. Her biggest film success was her role as management consultant Ines in Maren Ade's film “Toni Erdmann”.
She has been part of the Bochum Schauspielhaus ensemble since 2018 under the direction of Johan Simons. This year she was awarded both the Gertrud-Eysoldt-Ring and the Berlin Theater Prize. Both awards ceremonies have been postponed. The television recording of "Hamlet" with her in the title role opened the virtual Berlin Theater Meeting.
Sandra Hüller lives with her family in Leipzig.
Well, the awards were not revoked from me. It is similar at the theater meeting. The piece has not been unloaded. And the invitation remains a nice thing.
True, only the whole thing around did not take place, no roaring applause, no premiere party.
Absolutely, and this experience would have been great, especially for the younger colleagues, and I'm very sorry for them. But for me personally, the saddest thing was that we didn't see each other as an ensemble. But I am not resentful with such things, if something should not be, then it should not be. I'm all there …
The 3sat recording of "Hamlet" was recorded shortly after the lockdown. How did it affect your game that there was no audience in the hall?
It was amazing what intimacy this created. We really only played for each other. This connection that was established was really unique. It felt like on another planet: very special, intimate and lonely. I always thought of the little prince. It was like standing on a single planet.
This mood fits perfectly with the staging of Johan Simons!
Yes, it worked. On the other hand, it simply won't work without an audience. A dear colleague summed it up: It's like baking without flour. Interesting as an experience, but I don't want that in the long run.
Anyone who is vegan or organic is actually reasonable. This was the thought until Attila Hildmann and Rapunzel boss, Joseph Wilhelm, opened their mouths. We took a closer look at the connection between healthy eating and crude ideology – in the taz on the weekend of 23/24. May. Also: Interview with the actress Sandra Hüller. And: A short story about daily family madness during the Corona period. Always from Saturday at the kiosk, in eKiosk or in practice Weekend subscription. And around the clock at Facebook and Twitter.
How did you approach the figure of Hamlet?
Not at all on my own, that took place together on rehearsals and was very pragmatic about learning to read and trying to understand. And actually about being alone a lot. When I rehearse in Bochum, I'm away from my family in Leipzig.
Does a performance like “Hamlet” really take you away?
There are evenings that really leave me desperate, I'm empty, alone and sad. Strangely, it is not the case with Hamlet, because there is some kind of reconciliation, even if only with Laertes. That's why I'm totally peaceful and clear after this evening. That is very nice. That's why I love to play it.
Is reconciliation with Laertes your favorite moment of the evening?
That sounds really stupid now, but: I love every single moment of this evening.
The spirit of Hamlet's father does not appear in your version, but Hamlet has internalized the father. This is reminiscent of your first major film role in "Requiem", which deals with an alleged exorcism.
I sensed that this bridge will be built! After 14 years you can repeat something, I have only limited funds available (laughs). In this case, I think it's okay to reach into the same drawer.
But can you understand it at Hamlet in analogy to film as expulsion of a father?
You can see it like that, but I'm concerned with something else, apart from the fact that we haven't known how to do it for a long time. In our version it says that the father speaks through Hamlet, which of course has taught me fear. How should it work? How should I do that? The wonderful Gina Haller as Ophelia and I actually took this scene in the reading samples rather flippantly, because we didn't know how to do it. The problem is that I couldn't imagine an older colleague coming on stage as a ghost and saying to me: "Listen, Hamlet, there is a problem and you have to solve it." I don't even know how this urgency should arise. It would have been much more difficult in any case.
You have one in common with director Johan Simons long working relationship, does this have anything to do with the freedom he gives his players?
Yes, it has to do with this freedom and with this trust that things develop out of the players without him grafting anything onto them. This thorough examination of the texts until they are actually played is a great luxury for me.
Is that what you miss most about the theater right now?
In any case, I don't miss the excitement of performances! But of course I miss the beauty that lies in these gatherings. If it were said that it would never happen again, I would be unable to cope with it. At the moment it only works with the prospect that we can see each other again sometime. I don't just mean the colleagues, but also the audience. The idea of how we are in a room for the first time overwhelms me.
You said recently that the lockdown is actually quite nice, what do you find nice about it?
It is not nice for everyone, I am well aware of that, but I enjoy my time at home very much because I have it so rarely.
Do you feel restricted in your freedom rights?
Of course I'm in conflict like everyone else. I think all the measures are right, but it is a question of how long they will be right and if you can react quickly enough if they are no longer correct. On the other hand, I don't know how long I haven't hugged my mother, and the question arises as to whether I should say that or who I should listen to. I find it difficult to find out where your own limits are.
For Frank Castorf Angela Merkel did not dictate that the handwashing limit was exceeded.
I don't want to comment on that.
"Whining is the worst, ”you once said.
But there is a difference between whining or clearly naming things. When I think of freelance colleagues who have zero coverage because they are not employed and are not self-employed, even though they work as guests at the theaters and are usually insured there. There is acute need and that has nothing to do with whining at all. It's about bare existence.
Johan Simons advocates reopening the theaters as soon as possible.
I think you have to see how the spectators can safely get in and out and sit at a distance.
Of course it's also about the people on stage.
Yes, you probably have to check the game too. How can you convey things without actually doing them? What would that mean for "Hamlet" if you only said what you would do? You can try that. But first and foremost it's about how to make sure people can look safe.
Are you afraid of the virus?
Not to me personally. Of course I don't want to lose anyone, but when it comes to me, I always think that if it is, then it is. If that was the plan, then that's it.
You have received countless awards, what do these new honors mean to you?
It is something special this year because I have a 20-year career anniversary. But of course I will not take these prizes with me, I will die without all of this. In this respect, these awards are totally beautiful and make me feel good, but if they were not there would be something else.