Storm and shipwreck abruptly separate the identical twins Viola and Sebastian from each other: while there is no trace of Sebastian, Viola is being stranded in the enchanted land of Illyria. What country, friends, is this?, she asks in amazement—a more than legitimate question, for this realm is truly unique. Illyria is the land of perpetuated carnival, the love of disguise that has coagulated into a duchy, the land of drinking songs and rapture. As elsewhere only in the twelfth night after Christmas, the mixing of sexes, the role reversal and the inversion of the social bottom and top is fundamental for the Illyrian in-between world. The qualities of intoxication here range from the crude drunkenness to the speech-loving war of words, from rapturous adoration to the verbal injection of poison. To protect herself in this foreign place, Viola disguises herself as a man and enters the service of Duke Orsino as the servant Cesario. Her arrival is the spark that reignites this world frozen in melancholy and unfulfilled longings; the castaway sets in motion a cycle of desire. Viola falls in love with Duke Orsino, who, however, courts the beautiful Countess Olivia and sends Cesario, of all people, to her as a messenger of love. Olivia promptly falls for the faux young man. Meanwhile, Olivia's servants—her steward Malvolio, the chambermaid Maria, the court jester Feste, and Olivia's uncle Toby and his drinking companion Sir Andrew Aguecheek—are busy with their own love stories and affairs. When Sebastian, who was thought to be dead, suddenly appears, the confusion reaches its climax. With a virtuoso ensemble and in co-production with Theater Trier, Frank Hoffmann stages William Shakespeare's most frequently performed comedy TWELFTH NIGHT in a new German translation by Plinio Bachmann and Florian Hirsch, a play that is colorful and dazzling and at the same time infused with a rapturous melancholy. Bewildered by disguise and always mistaken about the true identity of the respective person of desire, the characters, sick with love, chase after each other without ever reaching each other. The most magical love songs of all time, performed by the clairvoyant jester Feste and played by Jan Plewka (singer of German rock band SELIG), also tell tales of appearance and reality, of seeking and (not) finding love.
Union des Théâtres de l'Europe gathered, in the last 3 decades, some of the most important European theatres and artists. Through festivals, exhibitions, exchanges, masterclasses, cooperation projects, the UTE help create a continuous flow between West and East, between generations, between tradition and innovation. Our celebration is inspired by this rich history. With the help of the Interferences International Theatre Festival, we wish to remember some of the best performances presented at past editions of the UTE festival and look forward to new horizons.