Wittenberg @ Gate Theatre

When confused student Hamlet meets his university teachers Martin Luther and Dr Faustus at a student union bar you know you are in for a real treat. The production of David Davalos’ “Wittenberg” by Christopher Haydon is a great mind game for those who are ready and mentally comfortable (or even capable) to face and process philosophical and theological disputes; all filtered with linguistic gymnastics.

This is a speedy performance that requires an equally speedy response from the audience. A heavy as well as complicated mixture of values and meanings thrown upon the audience is excellently combined with the so imaginative setting designed by Oliver Townsend. We are exposed to a battle of humanism versus religion taking place in a setting that ultimately judges and stigmatizes capitalism…or is (maybe) the viewer prompted for an internal philosophical journey on whether capitalism could possibly be the result of knowledge deriving from our own very roots of existence?

Although Haydon has successfully achieved to produce great intellectual dialogues with limitless humorous moments, a more than basic knowledge of philosophy and Shakespeare’s Hamlet are needed if you definitely want to understand and laugh at the humour that quite frequently lies beneath. Wittenberg is such a powerful production that, at times, seemed to me that it might have been a very difficult task to make it fit in such a tiny space. It almost reminds me of Anish Kapoor’s gigantic sculpture “Leviathan” compressed within Grand Palais earlier on this year.
Guest editor | Diana Picasso