Maria Stuart by Friedrich Schiller
with songs by Britney Spears and Madonna

Opening: 15 July 2023, Andere Welt Bühne, Strausberg

In Schiller’s work, everything about these women cries out for confrontation: Will Elisabeth, as an Anglican and Brit, have Mary, the Catholic and Scot, eliminated? Will she force her way into power? And does Mary really have secret plans to overthrow Elizabeth? The poet adopted the story freely and invented a meeting between Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I, who never met in reality. What is described, however, is not the confrontation of two stateswomen, but instead Elizabeth and Mary engage in a kind of mudslinging full of insults before the eyes of the men in the play. The play Maria Stuart proclaims: Women can only be enemies to each other, not friends. But must, can, may two powerful women always fight each other only on the basis of their gender, the attributions of saint and whore? What would have happened instead if Elizabeth and Mary had been allowed to meet each other as sisters – and not just as the political playthings of the men’s (fantasies) ensnaring them?

Mary Stuart at Andere Welt Bühne Strausberg is designed as a major attempt to look at the complex of female rivalry. Its starting point is a thought experiment that seems simple at first: Don’t Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I. remind us a little of the princess and queen of pop – Britney Spears and Madonna? Doesn’t the Elizabethan age also remind us of the music business in the 21st century? Aren’t worshippers of the monarchy just fans, always ready for fanaticism? Isn’t the House of Lords something like a Hall of Fame? And regardless of whether it is performed in front of subjects or an audience: In the end, isn’t everything a show?

To that effect, Mary’s entire court has disappeared, as have large parts of Elizabeth’s apparatus, and the French have also dissolved almost without a trace, almost as without a trace as Christina Aguilera at the 2003 VMAs, where the infamous kiss between Britney Spears and Madonna took place. Sometimes things must be made invisible to make others visible. Sometimes things must be added to open up more spaces of possibility: Can bringing together historical and contemporary women give us new impulses to think about bodies, power and sisterhood?

Photocredit: Julia Otto

With: Ines Burdow, Julian Moritz, Melanie Seeland
Director: Paul Spittler
Dramaturgy: Moritz Sauer
Music: Jonas Albani
Costumes: Sophie Leypold
Lighting: Dietrich Baumgarten, Tim Andersen
Video: Bodo Strecke, Moritz Sauer
Sound: Jonas Albani
Stage: Emanuel Schleiermacher
Construction Laurin Stairs: Jan van Appen
Construction: Waldwirtschafterei GmbH

Maria Stuart at Andere Welt Bühne is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg.